Each high school and middle school designates one person to assign officials for their athletic contests. In many cases, especially at the middle school level, it is the athletic director. For some sports, schools utilize the services of an independent assigner who will assign officials for a particular league or conference. Therefore, it is recommended that beginning officials contact area middle school and high school athletic directors introducing themselves as a new official available for contests. Experienced officials can follow the same process with area high school athletic directors and league assigners. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of all member school's athletic directors can be accessed by using the online member school directory.
Each of the OHSAA's six District Athletic Boards oversee the assignment of officials to sectional and district tournament contests.
Sectional and district tournament officials must be assigned by either the District Athletic Board or an OHSAA Certified assigner employed to act as an agent of the District Athletic Board.
An official's residence at the time of assignment occurs shall be his/her "district of residence."
The OHSAA Commissioner's office shall oversee the assignment of officials. Assignments shall be made from those eligible Class 1 officials based upon a proportional representation where the percentage of Class 1 officials assigned from each athletic district is representative of the percentage of Class 1 officials in that sport residing in each athletic district.
Example: There are 144 class 1 volleyball officials needed for the regional and state contests. If there are a total of 1205 class 1 volleyball officials in the state and 217 officials reside in the Central District then 18% of the 144 or 26 of the officials assigned will be from the Central District.
In the sports of football, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball, officials cannot work successive state tournaments in the same sport.
In August 2014, a revised Tournament Officials Selection Process was approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors. This revised Selection Process determines how officials are rated and voted for Tournament Selection.
Click here to view the full text of the Selection Process
To view a PowerPoint presentation on the Selection Process, click here
When the process is completed there will be officials in a State Pool, a Regional Pool, a District/Sectional Pool, and an Alternate Pool. Each descending pool is larger than the higher pool and the largest group of officials won't qualify to any pool. State and Regional officials are selected from the respective pools by the OHSAA State Office. All of the pools are provided to the District Athletic Boards for the purpose of assigning sectional and district officials. The number of officials in the pools exceeds the number of available assignments. At least a third of the officials in the pools will not receive any assignments. Most officials in the Alternate Pool will not receive any assignments; some officials in the sectional pool will not receive any. In order to receive a tournament officiating questionaire an official must receive a minimum number of ratings/votes in order to be ranked. Simply working “enough” games each season will not automatically generate a tournament officiating application for an umpire.
In order to receive a state assignment, an official must be in the state pool. In order to receive a regional assignment, an official must be in the state or regional pools.
In determining regional assignments, officials in the state and regional pools are considered to be on “equal footing.” Officials in the state pool are not “ranked” higher for purposed of regional selection. Since the number of officials in the state and regional pools is more than twice the number of regional officials needed, in any given year less than half of the “qualified” officials will actually receive an assignment.
Officials are selected from the pools based on a number of factors. Efforts are made to have a balance geographically and to have a balance between veteran and younger officials. Input is received from a variety of persons in making the selections – state rule interpreters, assigners retired officials, etc. The same individuals are not contracted each year so the input will vary. These individuals consider the officials qualifications, physical condition, etc. A certain preference may be given to officials who were not selected the previous year, to assure more people an opportunity. The final decision on selections rest with the state office.
The process varies slightly based on the sport and how many levels of tournaments are conducted.