2-man v. 3-man

This should be the first of a two-day posting series.

I just returned from a recruiting trip. I had the opportunity to watch two high school games Wednesday night in an OHSAA sectional tournament. I watched another two games Thursday night. Then, tomorrow, the recruiting week will conclude with three games.

For some odd reason, the OHSAA allows high school soccer games to have a 2-man referee system. This is ludicrous! FIFA and NCAA have 3-man systems. The NCAA does allow a “2-man system” if a referee is unable to continue. It’s a bit different though because they’ll get a “club linesman” who’s only job is to flag offside and out of play.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why OHSAA would continue to allow a 2-man system. The ONLY benefit to it is you save paying one official. That is ALL. There are no more positives to it. While soccer is relegated to a 2-man system, basketball gets 3 officials, football gets 6 officials, baseball gets 2 umpires, and volleyball gets 2 umpires. Soccer is played on a field that is MUCH larger than any other high school sanctioned sport — unless you play at the stadium I was at last night where the field is 100×52 (Cracker Jack box).

How does a High School Athletic Association feel it is remotely safe to put 2 referees on a field that typically measures 110+ yards by 60+ yards and those referees are responsible for keeping a game safe with 22 high school student-athletes?! A basketball court measures 82 feet by 50 feet and has 10 players on it…and 3 officials.

Let’s look at some numbers:

  • 82*50= 4100 square feet
  • 110(3 feet in a yard)*65(3 feet in a yard)= 64350 square feet
There is 1400 square feet that 3 basketball officials are responsible for, which equals to roughly 1367 square feet for each official. There is643500 square feet that 2 soccer officials are responsible for, which equals to 32175 square feet for each official. How much sense does that make? A soccer official is responsible for a space that is over 15-times the size of a basketball court! A soccer official is responsible for a space that is over 23-times the size of what a basketball official is responsible for!
A soccer official is responsible for 32175 square feet and 11 players. A basketball official is responsible for 1367 square feet and 3.-some-odd-players. How does this seem right? How does this seem safe?
The OHSAA and all High School Athletic Associations should start making some changes. These changes should help with the development of student-athletes. This is a small change in soccer that would be a huge impact to the game. But, I feel that asking the OHSAA to make a change FOR THE BETTER is probably asking too much. It’s time to make some changes. If the changes aren’t made, maybe it’s time to separate from the athletic associations and start doing things outside of the academic institutions.
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