IHSAA Makes Two Major Decisions During Latest Board Meeting

Boone, Iowa –  The Iowa High School Athletic Association has made major changes. In an effort to increase the potential pool of registered officials and better include interested students, the IHSAA will begin Allowing high school students to serve as officials for sub-varsity high school contests in 2019-2020. Current policies allow high schoolers to officiate seventh-and eight grade events or sub-varsity soccer matches. The Changes proposed with the officials’ advisory committee and approved Monday by the IHSAA’s Board of Control aims to help an active group of young officials gain invaluable experience and education, and allow school administrators to more easily schedules and staff sub-varsity contests.

“The officials’ shortage is a nationwide issue that we’re seeing up close here in Iowa,” IHSAA executive director Alan Beste said. “We have students trying out officiating and wanting more opportunities, and at the same time, their school’s administrators and coaches are desperate to find referees for freshmen, sophomore, or junior varsity events.

“These sub-varsity contests should be a learning experience for all involved, and we’re excited about the opportunities this could create at
the local level.”

The student exception for soccer officiating was added when the IHSAA first sanctioned the sport in 1993, with the intention of lifting a low number of soccer officials. However, soccer has added registered officials despite the overall number of IHSAA registered officials decreasing by 10 percent between 2007-08 and 2017-18. The advisory committee agreed the sport has benefited by having interested high school students available to assist and member schools have expressed interest in hiring those students. Besides the testing, rules meetings, and clinic attendance required for registered officials, the IHSAA will explore adding educational components for the high school-aged officials.

“This is a great chance to open up officiating for high school-aged officials and for school athletic administrators,” IHSAA director of officials Lewie Curtis said.

Scrimmage Travel Limitation Lifted :

The other change that has been made will make it so teams in all sports can travel more than 100-miles for IHSAA sanctioned scrimmages. The Board of Control approved a proposal to allow scrimmages to be played anywhere in Iowa, bordering states, and Kansas, similar to the IHSAA’s interstate policies for regular-season contests.

This was also the final meeting or 30-year IHSAA veteran, Alan Beste. He is currently the executive director and will retire at the end of this month. Tom Keating, will take over the role on July 1st, but his first day in office will not be until July 8th.

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