Game Assignments Orientation for New Officials
Welcome to the San Diego County Football Officials Association and your desire to become a football official. This document is meant to help answer some of your many questions you probably have regarding the assignment of games.
An avocation is described as, “Something one does in addition to a vocation or regular work, and usually for pleasure.” Football officiating could be described as an avocation, however, with some differences. First of all, we’re a service organization and we’re paid for our services. Secondly, a certain amount of dedication and time is required to not only to improve our skills as officials, but to provide and assure quality officiating to the schools and organizations we serve. Your commitment to continued improvement in your knowledge of the rule and mechanics, along with the same commitment to maintain a high level of physical fitness and presence, will make you personally better and our association stronger.
What can I expect as assignments my first year?
As a first year member you will be the first to be assigned to Pop Warner and other youth games. These games are traditionally on Saturday, so availability on Saturdays is required for all first year officials. High school freshmen and JV games are a possibility, dependent upon your skill development and availability. Rarely, if ever, does a first year official get assigned to a high school varsity game. We also use 1st and 2nd year officials as chain crews members for high schools and community colleges that request them.
How can I get noticed?
Attendances at the preseason clinics are a must. Generally the assignment secretaries are there to observe and get an initial impression of your presence and ability. Accept as many games as possible. Don’t turn games back. The more exposure you provide to certified members, the better your chances. Go to varsity games in your area. Introduce yourself to the crew chief, sit in on the pregame, walk in with the crew and stand on the sidelines. Watch and study the moves of the flank officials and the umpire, then take what you learned to your Pop Warner game the next day. Don’t miss meetings. Your instructor should be able to recognize you.
Who assigns me the games?
As a new member, you will deal with three assignment secretaries, one responsible for High School game assignments, and the other two splitting responsibility for Pop Warner and American Youth Football game assignments. See the SDCFOA Contacts page for Assignment Secretary details.
Important: Immediately notify each Assignment Secretary of any changes in your availability or change of address, phone number or email.
Are there detailed written policies on assignments that I can refer to?
Yes. The following are excerpts from the association’s Assignment Policies and Procedures:
San Diego County Football Officials Association, Inc
Excerpts from the Assignment Policies and Procedures
Prior to the beginning of the football season, each member shall notify the Assignment Secretary, by way of the Registration and Availability Form prior to the registration deadline date, of any prior time, day, or date commitments that he or she has during the football season that would preclude the member from officiating. The reason for the member’s unavailability shall be specific and detailed.
Conflict of Interest:
Prior to the beginning of the football season, each member shall notify the Assignment Secretary, by way of the Registration and Availability Form prior to the registration deadline date, of any possible conflicts of interest that the member may have with any particular game assignment. A conflict of interest is a factor that may be real, or perceived by others, as a bias or partiality to one team over the other that would affect the member’s judgment. Conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to; having a relative who is a player or coach of a team, being employed by a school, having administrative capabilities of a school or school district, or having an experience with a team or a coach that may cloud judgment. If a member is unsure of a potential conflict of interest, he or she should seek the opinion of the Assignment Secretary or the Board.
After the registration deadline, the availability of a member to officiate is assumed, according to the information communicated to the Assignment Secretary on the Registration and Availability Form. Members cannot arbitrarily decide which games they choose, or not to choose, to officiate. Members must be willing to accept any game assignment at any level he or she is qualified to officiate, subject to the conflict of interest or time/day/date restrictions noted in the Registration and Availability Form. Examples of accepted excuses for turning back a game contract include, but are not limited to:
- An acute injury or illness occurring on or off the field, which actually prevents or substantially hinders the member’s on-field physical performance.
- An acute injury or illness of a family member that requires the presence of the member.
- Last minute employment demands that would create a significant financial impact.
Unaccepted excuses include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of transportation.
- Social or athletic engagements.
- Distance to the game.
- Level of game.
- Lack of desire to do the game.
- Adverse weather conditions.
- Officiating a football game for another association.
- Officiating another sport.
- A minor injury or illness.
The applicable assignment secretary shall solely determine the validity of the excuse and if the excuse is acceptable or unacceptable.
Assignment Turn-Back Assessment:
Assignments turned back requires significant extra work by the applicable assignment secretary, accordingly, if a member turns back an assignment anytime during or after the pre-established dates that assignment con-tracts are distributed, he or she will be assessed thirty dollars ($30) for each game returned.
The assignment secretaries, at their discretion, may waive the assessment for an acceptable excuse as described in the Assignment Turn-Backs section above. Unacceptable excuses will always be assessed. Decisions of the assignment secretaries may be appealed to the Mediation Committee, however, until such an appeal is heard, all provisions of thus policy remain in effect.
If single site multiple sequential games, e.g. JV/Varsity doubleheaders or multiple Pop Warner games, are turned-back the member will be assessed only $30, if he or she can be replaced by only one replacement.
Turn-backs exempt from assessment are:
- A season ending injury or illness, or an injury or illness requiring more than two weeks of convalescence after the injury or illness. Both of the above injuries or illnesses must require professional medical attention.
- Immediate deployment or service connected obligation of a member who is in the military.
- A member who quits the Association.
All assessments must be paid to the applicable assignment secretary on or before the next pre-established assignment contract distribution date. If the assessment(s) are not paid on or before this date, the member’s assignment contracts for the next assignment period will be withheld and re-distributed to other qualified members. If the turn-back occurs after the last contract distribution date, the assessment must be paid to the applicable assignment secretary prior to the notification of playoff assignments or the member’s playoff assignment will be withheld. If a playoff assignment is turned back or if any assessments are still due after the end of football season, the assessment must be paid to the applicable assignment secretary before any assignments are made the following year.
Assignment Contract Dates:
All game assignment contracts shall be published on the currently used web-based assignment program on pre-established dates. Games not accepted within 6 days of the day that they are published will be reassigned to another qualified member. It is recommended that all members electronically check their schedules daily in case of games changes or cancellations, site or time changes, etc. Members’ telephone answering devices and e-mail should be also be monitored on a daily basis for any changes transmitted telephonically or electronically.
Answering Machines and E-mail:
Members’ telephone answering devices and email should be monitored on a daily basis for any changes or information transmitted telephonic-ally or electronically.
Assignment Secretaries’ Exclusivity:
All Association sanctioned game assignments, assignment trades or turn-back replacements will be exclusively initiated by the applicable assignment secretary. A member may propose another member for a game assignment trade or a replacement for his or her turned-back assignment, however, all such proposals will be communicated to, coordinated with, and approved by the applicable assignment secretary. Such a replacement or trade, without applicable assignment secretary coordination and approval, may cause the member initiating such action to relinquish his or her remaining games with said action reported to the Board for their approval.
If a time and date conflict should occur between games, scrimmages and clinics, the applicable assignment secretary shall be immediately notified for correction of the conflict. The following priorities shall prevail:
- Probationary members’ clinic participation shall take priority over scrimmages or games of any level.
- Games of any level take priority over scrimmages; however, the required number of scrimmages each member must participate in still prevails.
- Post high school games take priority over all other level of games. Members working NCAA games shall not officiate any other games that day.
- High school varsity games take priority over JV, freshmen and youth games.
- High school JV or freshmen games take priority over youth games.
Recognizing that youth football, (Pop Warner, parochial, etc), provides an integral and necessary component of the Association’s education and development of new and inexperienced members, the following criteria is used in selecting crews for this level:
- First to be assigned: First year members.
- Second to be assigned: Second year and transfer members.
- Third to be assigned: Experienced certified members, preferably high school varsity crew-chiefs, who have the ability, knowledge, patience and teaching capabilities to effectively instruct, critique and evaluate probationary and transfer members
- Fourth to be assigned: Other certified members, considering ratings, members’ availability, reliability and the subjective judgment of the applicable assignment secretary.
Where are all the high school fields located?
See the High Schools page.
I still have some questions regarding assignments. Who can I ask?
Ask your assignment secretaries — they will be happy to answer any questions you have now, or during the season.