By: John Van de Vaarst
The monthly “NISOA Referee Nuts and Bolts” column is written primarily for the college and high school soccer Referee. However, any soccer Referee who wishes to improve personal performance may also find that this series is helpful.
All articles address those BASIC techniques, procedures, practice alternatives, and skills that are sometimes forgotten or overlooked while going through the experiences of soccer refereeing. The short discussions and accompanying practical tips stress important advice for competent performance. This month’s article will focus on the importance of game reporting.
There is a famous old phrase that indicates that no job is done until the paperwork is finished. This applies to soccer officiating at both the intercollegiate and interscholastic level. Game reporting is a duty of every referee. Rule 5, the Referee, of the NCAA Rule Book has specific duties identified in rule 5.5.2 regarding postgame duties for the officials. They shall “include reviewing and signing the official NCAA box Score, or verifying the electronic version, to ensure the score, cards and disciplinary actions are accurately recorded. For all ejections, the referee shall electronically complete and file the appropriate form(s) located on the NCAA Soccer Central Hub website at NCAAsoccer.arbitersports.com within 24 hours of completion of the game”
Rule 5, The Officials, of the NFHS Rule Book has a requirement for the head referee in Section 4, After the Game. Article 1 indicates that “the head referee shall: a. verify the score; b. report in writing any disqualifications and unusual incidents to the proper authorities.” Both the NCAA and NFHS Rule Books are very specific on the responsibilities regarding game reporting.
All game reports must clearly indicate the facts of the incident(s). Opinions should not be incorporated into the report. The reports should indicate what happened in detail, who was involved, when did it happen (time of the game) and what the referee did as a result. The information must be presented in a manner so that any person making decisions about the incident and potential penalties can clearly understand the facts and make a conclusion without additional data. Both the NCAA and state high school associations have specific and in some cases severe penalties for players, coaches or bench personnel who are ejected from a game. The referee’s game report is the basis for the penalty imposed. Accuracy is critical.
Rule 12, Fouls and Misconduct, of the NCAA Rule Book provides additional guidance on game reports. Rule 12.3, Ejections, indicates that “an ejection is a formal disciplinary action requiring specific procedures to be followed by the referee including stopping the clock, suspending play and displaying a red card. For all ejections, the referee shall electronically complete and file the appropriate form(s) located on the NCAA Soccer Central Hub website at www.NCAAsoccer.arbitersports.com within 24 hours of completion of the game. (See Page 7.) Rule 188.8.131.52 provides requirements for the referee if a fight has occurred. “The referee shall inform the player(s), the head coach(s)and the official scorekeeper, who shall record on the official NCAA box Score from, that an ejection for fighting has been issued. In addition, the referee shall electronically complete and file the fight reporting form located on the NCAA Soccer Central Hub website at www.NNCAAsoccer.arbitersports.com within 24 hours of completion of the game. Notification of the fighting ejection(s) shall be sent by the NCAA national office to the offending individual’s institution and the governing sports authority. (See Rule 12.12.1.)” Accurately and timely reporting is critical for all ejections but especially so for fighting. The NCAA has stronger penalties for fighting and the game report is used to determine if a fight occurred. The referee again must clearly state the facts as referenced above.
The NFHS allows each state to determine the various penalties for ejections and fighting. Every interscholastic official must know how to submit a game report, where it is to be submitted, who receives the report and how soon it must be completed. This requirement is normally reviewed at the state wide clinic on rules or the local chapter meeting where rules are reviewed for the upcoming season. Failure to submit a proper report can lead to a player who should be disqualified from a future game being allowed to play and a potential protest by the opposing team.
Every season there are instances when a referee fails to submit a game report or does not complete the report accurately or completely. These situations create problems for the referee, assignor, conference administrators and the organization as a whole. It is imperative that as professionals,referees complete accurate reports in a timely manner. A recent report from the NCAA provides information on red card reporting vs. red card statistics. It appears that approximately 242 red card violations were not reported during the 2014 season. This means that several referees did not satisfy the requirements of the rules and there were potential problems for the teams involved.
In conclusion, remember game reports are required in both the NCAA and NFHS Rule Books. No job is completed until the paperwork is done.