Prospective Rules Classes:

One of the first decisions we have to consider is how we continue to recruit new members.  Traditionally Boards have had access to local schools to host their classes for prospects.  How confident you will have access to a physical space for your classes?  What is your back-up plan?   Will you continue with an instructor led platform using zoom or google meets or some other social platform?  Will you just offer the IAABO University “on-line” rules class?  Each Board should consider their technological capabilities and decide what is best.

State Interpretation Meeting:

I have been working on the materials for this meeting over the past few weeks.  Assuming the season is still “on” come November, what is the most logistically feasible way to hold this meeting for your Board if facilities are unavailable?  Would you prefer this meeting be held using zoom or would you prefer a video being sent to your Board to use at your discretion?  What are your Board members ability to utilize technology?  This meeting is mandatory to qualify for post-season and both of these options presents a challenge in tracking who actually views the materials.   I am willing to work with Boards to do what works best.  Each Board will have to give me direction on what works best.  If you prefer to have me prepare a video, please let me know that by October 1 so I have time to get it completed.


Back-up plan options:  On-line exam?  Take-home exam?  No exam?

The exam is the backbone of most rating systems in the State and it also impacts tournament eligibility.   How do we effectively administer these exams to our members?   I am sure we could find a way to administer an on-line exam using google forms.  But if we pursue that, what if any security measures do we take?  Do we take a different approach and allow people to take it home and work in groups and return it to be graded?  This is another logistical challenge.  What is best approach?

Safety Protocols:

If we have a season, I am sure the MPA will have a host of guidelines that need to be followed.   However, are there specific safety protocols we should be advocating for on behalf of our members?  Are there specific safety measures and or mechanics changes our people will need to have in place for them to be comfortable to officiate? Do you think you will have members that will “opt out” of officiating this season?  What capacity will we have to cover games in your region?    Those are some questions we should be trying to determine as we get closer to the season.

On the national level, there has been some suggestions for safety protocols to make it safer to officiate.  Some of the ideas are as follows:

  • Coming to game sites dressed to avoid sitting in a small space office changing clothes with other officials with no room to breathe and no proper ventilation.
  • Masks for officials at a minimum.
  • Wearing gloves with a change occurring at the end of every quarter. Hand sanitizer located in locker room and scorer’s table.
  • Minimize contact & proximity with players & coaches as much as possible. No Pre-game meeting with coaches/captains.
  • Bounce the ball on all throw ins from a 5-6 ft. away
  • Don’t step in the lane on FT’s administer from the endline.
  • Sanitize the ball between qtrs.
  • Go opposite table after reporting (2 & 3 person).
  • Home team gets first possession as opposed to opening jump.
  • Use an electronic whistle.   (

Do you have any ideas that could be added to this list?  Any other “mechanics” changes that you feel would be important to consider?

Tournament Eligibility:

If we are fortunate enough to have a season that provides some semblance of a “post-season”, should we be flexible with our eligibility requirements?

Currently 15 games officiated is a minimum requirement, if we have a shortened season we potentially would need to prorate the number based on length of season.

If we have to have an “open book” or online test, do we still use exam as a requirement?  IAABO, Inc will be hosting a general assembly meeting sometime in October.  One of the items that will be voted on is moving the passing test score for IAABO exams from 86 to 80.  (Re-test score 76 to 70).  When the Interpreters/Site Supervisors met in May, the consensus for that group was to keep the test score at 86 for tournament eligibility.  That is in no way a binding decision and would need the Council to approve a recommendation to the Maine Basketball Commission to be approved.  Nonetheless, it will be an issue to be discussed.

Finally, if we are not able to have a formal State Interpretation session and it is difficult to figure out attendance, should be forgo that requirement this season?


So what if we don’t have a season?   IAABO, Inc would like to avoid a situation where they or local Boards have to offer refunds to officials for dues paid for the current season.  This would be logistically challenging for all involved.  It is hoped we could find a way to apply payments to next season and move forward with same materials that we would have used this season.   As you may or may not know, the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) owns the rules book.  If there is no season, IAABO hopes to influence the NFHS forgo the rules change process next summer and use the same rules book for next season.  IAABO’s contract (to buy the rules book) with NFHS expires in 2021.  So that will be an interesting discussion.  I am not sure if our insurance provider would be in a similar situation or not, that remains to be seen. Hopefully we can find a way to be fair to our members.

Regardless if games are being played or not, IAABO, Inc. is planning on continuing their educational programs next year.   The plan will be to continue with weekly “Inside the lines” and “Zoom” educational sessions throughout the year as well.   The upcoming Fall Seminar will be on-line this year (on September 24,25,26) and it this point sounds like will be offered to all IAABO members.

In closing, I hope you find this information helpful as you set your agendas for meetings this summer.  We have a long way to go before decisions need to be made, but I don’t think it is too early to start thinking about issues we will face next season.  In the next month or so, we should be hearing more information on the MPA’s approach to the fall-season.   I think once we learn of that decision, we should consider scheduling a meeting, especially if looks like they are going to attempt to have sports.

These are highly unusual times.  I hope we can work together to ensure our organization can effectively navigate through this challenge and be ready to take the court and service the game when we are called upon, whenever that might be.

In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to help, please feel to reach out to me.