The summer is flying by and the 2024-25 school year is fast approaching. Before we know it, Friday nights in Michigan will be dedicated to high school football.

Like many states around the country, Michigan needs more officials for high school athletics. While football needs the most officials, it's certainly not the only sport. After all, those who choose to officiate Michigan high school sports will be encouraged to take on two sports throughout the school year.

That said, the number of officials can be a bit of a concern. While the MHSAA registered approximately 8,700 officials last year (a 5% increase from 2022-23), the number of officials still hasn't quite reached pre-pandemic status.

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Last year in Southwest Michigan, a heat wave canceled many of the opening Thursday night games, which left schools scrambling for officials the following night. Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix had to cancel their cross-town rivalry game last year because there weren't enough officials to go around.

Hopefully, we won't experience a similar situation this year.

For those looking to get on the field, court, pitch or diamond this coming season, you can register to become an official for the 2024-25 season at this link.

New and returning officials will pay a $70 registration fee which covers participation in two sports. Officials can take on more sports at $16 for the third sport and beyond. The deadline for fall sport registration is August 19, the winter deadline is November 18 and the spring deadline is March 24. After the deadline, a $30 late fee will be imposed.

New officials or anyone who didn't officiate in 2023-24 will have to pass a registration test and complete the MHSAA Principles of Officiating course. There are extra courses for those looking to officiate football and/or basketball.

Officiating isn't an old man's game either. Those as young as 14 can participate.

From the MHSAA's press release:

There also are opportunities to officiate for students at least 14 years old and in grades 9-12 through the MHSAA Legacy Program. Juniors and seniors may officiate subvarsity contests, while freshmen and sophomores may officiate contests at the middle school/junior high levels. Mentor officials will work events with Legacy participants to provide guidance and support.

Information on the MHSAA Legacy Program can be found at this link.

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