BY CHAD DARE
The IHSA is hitting the recruiting trails.
On Wednesday night at the Bremer Conference Center on the campus of Danville Area Community College, Craig Anderson, the assistant executive director of the IHSA, shared the association’s plans to get younger officials for all sports.
“We are really excited about this, it’s an idea that we’ve adopted from Michigan,’’ said Anderson, who was in Danville speaking to Eastern Illinois Football Referees Association. “We basically send out a waiver for all athletics directors across the state to take two graduating seniors that they think fit the mold of being an official.
“We want them to have the desire, and a past experience in sports or activities. And we want to get a variety — we don’t just want football officials. We’re hoping the ADs can provide opportunities for those graduating seniors.’’
Anderson hopes by getting the soon-to-be college freshmen involved with officiating that they develop the same passion they had as an athlete.
And members of the Eastern Illinois Football Referees Association pointed out that it’s a great part-time job for a college student.
“I hope we can match them up with associations like this one, so that they can get the encouragement, the reinforcement and the mentoring that will allow them to continue to do it,’’ he said. “We hope to build on this and see a growth in our officiating ranks.
“We really need some young officials in all our sports and we some young judges in our activities that we offer like dance and cheerleading.’’
Officiating is not the only duty that Anderson has with the IHSA, his sports are football, wrestling and baseball.
And one of the topics of conversation on Wednesday night was the constant changes in conferences and what role did the IHSA have in future moves.
“We don’t have a vested interest in the changes, the schools are making these moves on their own,’’ he said. “Now, I understand that the drive for most of these changes is based on football and the playoff system.’’
Anderson pointed out that several different proposals have been presented to the IHSA, from creating districts to expanding the playoffs, but none of them have made it past the Advisory Board.
“I don’t know what is going to stop all these changes,’’ Anderson said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow when you are in a solid conference and it gets broken up.’’
And with all of these changes, a new problem has arisen.
“I’ve had a number of calls this season with teams not being able to find games,’’ Anderson said. “As conferences continue to change, it’s going to be a concern for a while.’’
Anderson said that anyone wanting to get into officiating, should go to the IHSA Web site www.ihsa.org to begin the process.