Author Topic: Pre-game Process  (Read 2282 times)

Offline ElvisLives

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Pre-game Process
« on: January 08, 2018, 04:45:04 PM »
Kudos to TexDoc for performing the task he listed.  I can only hope everybody are doing those same things.  (For what it is worth, my crew does, too.)

As Joe Stack, JasonTx, TxMike, TexDoc has illustrated, there is great variety in the pre-game process employed by TASO Football officials.  The reasons for the variety are many, but the one thing that probably drives most processes is how much time the crew allots to their pre-game process.  Arriving 90 minutes ahead is "required."  But, is it enough?  How are the various tasks to be performed managed by the crew during whatever pre-game duration is used?
The UIL's mandated jurisdiction of 30 minutes before KO contributes to the dilemma.  First, both teams are not likely to be out there very long.  One team or both will go to their dressing room(s) by T minus 20.  Do we stay out?  Do we go back in?
Going out before 30 minutes raises the issue of liability.  We simply must have someone out there, whenever there are opponents on the field simultaneously.  Our liability is simply too great to ignore this.  The whole crew doesn't have to go out, but, if you don't, it sure creates a headache deciding who goes out, and when.  By going out more than 30 minutes ahead of KO, do we, by default, become liable for anything that happens prior to T minus 30?  Probably.
If we are to hold our coaches conferences beginning at T minus 75, and we are to be on the field at T minus 30, that leaves 30 minutes or so (may 40, if we're very lucky), to conduct a 'whole crew' pre-game conference, and make individual pre-game preparations.  Is that enough time?

Arriving earlier is certainly an option.  But, can everyone break away from their primary occupations in order to make the drive and arrive more than 90 minutes ahead?  And, a fair question to ask is: Is the compensation we receive enough to justify arriving earlier?  If we do arrive more that 90 minutes ahead, how do we manage that additional time?

Now for my personal opinions.

HS officiating is no one's primary occupation.  We simply can not ask or expect our members to arrive earlier than 90 minutes ahead for a varsity assignment.  Therefore, we must a have a workable plan to make effective use of the time available and timeline provided.

If you arrive more than 90 minutes ahead, take that time to walk the field - in civilian clothes - and observe the field.  If you see safety issues, alert game management, to get them corrected.  Other things like pylons, etc., may have to wait until near game time (they may not have been placed on the field yet).

T-90:  Arrive at site and identify the game manager.  Request the clock operators to visit the dressing room not later than T-60.  Proceed to dressing room, and start getting dressed.
T-75:  R and U have left the dressing room and are at home head coach; proceed to the visiting head coach.
T-60: R and U have returned to dressing room.  Conduct/complete conference with clock operators.  Conduct crew pregame conference.
T-30: Entire crew arrives on field to perform pre-game duties.  When all duties and conferences have been performed, and at least one team has left the field, the crew may return to the dressing room for last minute preparations.
T-5 (at the latest): Crew arrives on field with captains to take positions for coin toss and begin game.

This process fits the UIL requirement and the TASO manual.

Interested to get comments.

Robert

 

 



 

Offline Etref

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 06:15:26 PM »
We always tried to arrive 2 hours befor to allow tha extra 30 minutes for traffic and other delays.

But I agree a good pregame should include the items you listed above
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline JasonTX

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 06:32:37 PM »
My crew arrives 2 hours before and even then we feel like we don't have enough time.  If it's a playoff game road trip we will ride together and have our crew discussions on the drive.  Regular season games the furthest anyone on the crew would travel is 2 hours, usually driving 3 vehicles, so having a flexible job is beneficial.  Our pregame starts long before Friday night.  We all review the game film and have online discussions with each other throughout the week.  Once we get to the game site myself (R) and the Umpire seek out the coaches for their pregame and I make that a quick as possible.  I get the pertinent information and get back to crew. 

Offline HoustonUmp

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 11:46:22 PM »
We arrive between 2 hours and 2 hours 15 minutes before game time and start pregame a few minutes after that.  At 75 minutes before, the U and I go meet with the coaches to get any pertinent information. While we are gone the remaining crew members discuss the passing game and their coverages in more detail.  After returning with info to share with crew, we discuss any other topics that need to be addressed and then usually try to get to the field with about 45 minutes.  When offenses are going through their skeleton drills I have wings and B watch formations to get ready for what might be seen.  During time on field I also make sure every official introduces himself to both head coaches.  When teams leaves (15 to 20 minutes) we usually corral captains for pretoss.  Go in, make any last minute adjustments and come back when just before teams enter the field.

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 08:44:24 AM »
Regarding the crew's pre-game conference, this is absolutely essential when it is not a true "crew" assignment, i.e., individuals that don't work together regularly.  The more time you can alot to the conference in those cases, the better.  Indeed, that can include the time traveling to the game site, but that also pretty much requires the whole crew to travel together.  That's OK for crews of 4 and 5, but can be problematic for crews of 7.  (How many of us have the large SUVs with room for 7, with reasonable comfort?)  Anyway, that's how we did it for decades before the 'crew' system became the near-standard.

One major advantage I have found with the true crew system, is that the crews can meet sometime during the week to review the previous game, and conduct the bulk of their pre-game conference for the next game.  That allows the crew to arrive 90 minutes ahead, with plenty of time for everything.  The 30 minutes or so that you have between the coaches conferences and the on-field pre-game can be used for a relaxed crew pre-game, to put aside distractions and get your heads into the moment.  That can be done in a near infinite number of ways.  A crew mini-quiz.  An assigned topic to one crew member.  A round-table discussion of topics.  A "Jeopardy" game with officiating categories. Any number of things.

That's what we do.  We meet on Sunday evenings, look at video from the previous game (assuming it has been made available - that's another issue), and discuss what we did well, and where we need improvement.  We review CFO video and bulletins (as they apply to UIL football).  We also discuss rules and mechanics, in varying degrees of depth.  Usually takes about an hour and 15 minutes.

But then, not all crews may have the ability to gather together during the week, and we can't really expect them to do that.

Robert

Offline Cowtown Ref

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 09:08:58 AM »
To me the issue with going out 30 mins prior, is that you may or may not even see both teams.  If you do, it maybe for 10 mins max.  This gives no time to observe equipment and uniform issues.  Especially now with the knee pad rule coming back this year.  Personally, during the game isn't the time to be worrying about knees being covered up or head bands hanging out their helmet!

On Saturdays we go out an hour or hour 15 before KO.  Put to bed all these kinda issues and focus on the game after KO.

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 09:20:52 AM »
I've had the same crew now coming up on 8 years.  The only time we have a mechanics driven deep pregame is when we work 7, since we work 5 primarily.  We try to get Hudl video and watch and I highlight during the week and send to the crew.  We talk all week via text and email.  I start pregame by talking about any issues or concerns from the previous game, and hit on a rule or three to get our minds into the officiating mode.  The great thing with a crew is that you don't have to cover the same mechanics topics every week.  You can dig a little deeper and get into some good rules discussions.

As I mentioned in the other discussion topic, I have a script I use for each coach on a small card I print out for each game/team.  That way I can focus on getting everything covered and get that done as quickly as possible.  Also, I always get with home coach first, and the first thing I ask after we introduce ourselves is "coach is this a good time?"  I just need 5 minutes.  That way he feels I'm not trying to drag him away from his pregame process with his team.

Offline Coby

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 10:15:46 AM »
MY GOD yall are very inefficient!!!

Saturday:  R gets game from HUDL and watches everything.  Notes the play #'s with mechanics issues or questionable calls.

Sunday: Texting with the Texans.  While we watch the Texans game from our house we text each other via group text.  Look at the horse collar on play 64.  We break out the HUDL app on our phones and watch play 64 and discuss.  Look at the DH on play 103.  How did we miss the player Out of Bounds on  play 175?  This takes 25 minutes and we are all better for doing this.

Wednesday: Gotomeeting.com webinar.  I create a playlist of issues from the week before from all the plays that get complaints about them from across the chapter.  We watch the playlist on one device and hold the video conference on another device.

Friday:  Before Game.  Watch HUDL playlist on drive to game.  Get dressed, Get mentally prepared.

I have been saying this for 7 years and no one listens.

What TASO needs to do is create weekly HUDL Pre Games, and weekly HUDL Video quizzes.  This will increase our consistency across the state.  It is so incredibly simple and will pay huge dividends.  All TASO trainings need to be thru HUDL.  Every meeting should have video.  The Houston chapter alone has over 1 million plays on video.  About 25,000 have been pulled already as penalty plays.  We have more Football training clips then any organization not named the NFL, and we might catch them in 20 years.

Unfortunately Video exposes WARTS.  Our "Best Crews" have WARTS.  I have WARTS, your Crew has WARTS.  It is what you learn from your WARTS that should define you and your crews level of expertise.  Unfortunately, some of the "Best Crews" are so insecure with their ability or technology deficient, or realize that they became a "Best Crew" by soliciting that they kick and scream about any sort of Video requirement.

Embrace Technology, Embrace Video, Get Better.


Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 04:05:49 PM »
When I started this thread, I was wondering how consistent/inconsistent we are as an association in what the Teams see from us on game day.  (By "Teams," I mean players, fans, administrators and coaches, as a group).  What we do the other 6 days of the week wasn't intended to be a focus of the discussion (but is worth a separate discussion).
The single thing we hear the most from Teams is they want "consistency" from us. The truth is, by "consistency," they mean that they all believe they get the short end of the stick regarding officiating judgments. The consistency of which they speak is largely perception, and not actual performance.  If we could compile some actual statistics, I think we'd be far more consistent in rules application and judgment than the Teams would give us credit for.
So, the first question is:  Do we care to attack the issue of consistency (even if it is largely perception)?

If not, then we just just keep on keepin' on.

If so, then the place to start is how we handle the (on site) pre-game process.  If the Teams know that we are going to arrive on site, consistently, 90 minutes (or 2 hours, or whatever) before scheduled kickoff, then they are better able to plan their own pregame procedures.  But they need to be able to rely on us for that.  If we arrive late, and somebody has had to wait for us to escort us to our dressing room, etc., we are stealing their time, and we may be cramping the pregame schedule.  Similarly, if we arrive early, then, more than likely someone has to break their routine to take care of us, which can be equally inconvenient.  If we set the tone immediately upon arrival that we are there to take care of business, I truly believe we can help ourselves tremendously.

(For me, that was one of the best things about FBS football, during my days.  We knew, and they knew, when and how we'd arrive, and when certain activities were to take place, without having to coordinate during the week. Week in and week out.  Now, that's consistency).

Once we are on site, if the Teams can depend on us to be reasonably precise in when we meet with the head coaches, and when we enter the field for our official pre-game duties, when and how we administer the coin toss, etc., again, it relieves stress on everybody.

Then we should also be consistent on what and when we take care of pre-game tasks, like instructions to clock operators, chain crew and ball persons.  We should also be consistent - and insistent - on checking/marking game balls.  Oh, wouldn't it be so nice if they would bring the game balls to our dressing room to check/mark...  But that is virtually never.  So, we have to either do it while the R & U are making their rounds to the head coaches, or when the crew comes onto the field at 30 minutes.  It would be really nice if the Teams knew - every game, every week - that when they see us come onto the field at T-30, that they need to round up the games balls and let us check them right then.  Consistency.

And those things are crew size independent.  Should apply to 5 or 7.

There's more, but that's enough for today.

Robert
 

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 08:53:20 PM »
Letís be realistic, officiating is our avocation, not our vocation, and the vast majority have way too many other responsibilities to spend 5, 6 or 7 days a week dealing with officiating.  We have families and jobs and other things that require our time.  If thereís a crew anywhere where the expectation is you spend that much time on this hobby, good for you.  I canít.  I just donít have that kind of time. 

Offline Etref

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2018, 08:12:04 AM »
 :thumbup
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline JasonTX

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2018, 06:15:57 PM »
Letís be realistic, officiating is our avocation, not our vocation, and the vast majority have way too many other responsibilities to spend 5, 6 or 7 days a week dealing with officiating.  We have families and jobs and other things that require our time.  If thereís a crew anywhere where the expectation is you spend that much time on this hobby, good for you.  I canít.  I just donít have that kind of time.

Have you viewed your stats on here?   ;D
17 days, 1 hr. 46 mins. with a lot of viewing from 7 am to 4 pm.  Get off the internet and get to work.   :bOW

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2018, 07:18:21 PM »
Donít you judge me!!!    LOL LOL LOL

Offline Etref

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 01:33:52 PM »
Where would the fun be if we couldn't do that....... nAnA
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 09:27:57 AM »
Where would the fun be if we couldn't do that....... nAnA

Hey, don't you start too! 

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 04:54:25 PM »
Coaches Conferences
Personally, I wish they'd just go away.  If the game administrator knows we are on site, he can notify the HC for his team, and a "liaison" for the other team, so everybody knows the officials are there, putting that concern to rest.  With cell phones, there is no reason for the teams to not be aware of any issue the crew may have with arriving on time. So, there should be little-to-no stress and angst regarding that.  Unless notified otherwise, the HCs should be able to assume we have arrived.  They'll be able to talk to us when we arrive on the field at T-30, if necessary.  If they want to speak to us prior to that, they can ask the game administrator to get word to us of their request, and we can visit with them in their dressing room, hallway, etc. (not in our dressing room), and always with at least two of us at a time.
Nowadays, what is there to talk about?  We don't care who they send out for the coin toss, so no need to know that.  If there is a decision to be made by either team regarding penalty enforcement, etc., we don't ever talk to captains any more - we get the HC to make the decisions, so we don't need to know who the captains are. 
The only thing that may need to be reviewed is the pre-game and half-time timing.  If we could get the UIL to eliminate their "exception" for the timing of the coin toss, and make the teams follow the NCAA rule, i.e., the coin toss is conducted at T-3 - no exceptions - then the Teams will know that they must send out captains NLT T-5, and the rest of the team must follow in time to be ready for the KO at scheduled game time.  Every game.  Some school folks may say they want to have the National Anthem etc., following the coin toss.  Sorry - do all your pre-game ceremony before T-5.  If you want your team on the field for the school song, Anthem, or other ceremonies, great - get them on the field at T-10 (or whenever), just be done by T-5.  If that is all set and consistent, then we don't need to discuss that, either.
Similar for half-time.  While I would prefer a 20-minute half, I'm OK with 24. But the UIL should set it at 24 - period (we simply don't need 28 minutes).  Then we don't need to discuss that either.
It does no good to ask coaches about any special plays.  Most of the time, they just don't tell us.  When they do tell us, quite often the play they describe is illegal, or what they describe and what they execute are two different things.  We just need to be prepared, and not worry about any special or trick plays.
So, with nothing to talk about, why have a coaches conference?  Let's just drop that. 

Whadduya say?

Robert




Offline Etref

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 06:34:30 PM »
If we don't have the pre game conference, when is the crew going to solicit their playoff games????






Just kidding
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 06:56:33 AM »
If we don't have the pre game conference, when is the crew going to solicit their playoff games????






Just kidding

 ^good ^good ^good ^good ^good

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 06:59:00 AM »
Robert, don't you have coaches that sometimes want to do the coin toss about 30 minutes before kickoff between the two head coaches and then reenact it?  We've always accommodated that request.

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 11:32:07 AM »
Robert, don't you have coaches that sometimes want to do the coin toss about 30 minutes before kickoff between the two head coaches and then reenact it?  We've always accommodated that request.

Honest to God, in my 43 seasons of officiating, I've never had teams request the coin toss at any time other than T-3.  I know it happens in other parts of the state.  But, even in playoffs, I've never had a team request anything different. I give them an "opening" to request it during the coaches conferences, by saying that we'll execute the coin toss 3 minutes before kickoff.  If they want something else, there is their opportunity to request it.  But they never have.  They may be ignorant of the UIL exception allowing it to be some other time, but it isn't our duty or obligation to educate them on their own rules.

This goes to consistency, again.  In FBS, everybody knew, everywhere, every week, that the coin toss would be T-3.  Never an issue.  All pre-game activities were completed before the coin toss.  As it should be. 

UIL coaches may not trust their captains to make the right choices, if we have a bona fide coin toss at T-3.  I understand that.  Easy to fix, without tossing early.  When we get the captains for the toss, ask them if they know what their coaches wants them to do, and run through the scenarios with them.  If they seem confused, or say something wacky, then we find the HC (usually pretty close by) and simply verify with him that, if he wins or the other teams defers, he wants to receive (right, Coach?); or, which end of the field he wants to defend if he is to kick off.  Today, everybody wants to receive or defer.  Nobody wants to defend a goal or kick off, as the first option (because, if they do, they'll be doing that for the 3rd period kickoff, too).  Then we do the coin toss and we don't let the captains screw up.  Easy.  And, oh yeah, when we verify the end of the field that a team chooses to defend, always confirm the end and the direction they'll be kicking, i.e., "You want to kick from that end...," (point to the end), "...kicking this way - right?" (then pointing in the direction they'll be kicking).  If they agree, no problem. If they seem confused or disagree, then stop and clarify.  Once everybody is happy, then have them place their backs to the goals they'll be defending and make your announcement.  Don't let them screw up.

Note 1:  In FBS, we'd ask the HCs their toss preferences during our coaches conferences.  If we get rid of the conferences, easy enough to check with the captains (or coaches, if nearby) when we collect the captains for the toss.

Note 2:  Years ago, some folks would actually CHOOSE to defend a particular goal (as the first option), due to wind and/or grass field conditions, etc.  Not the least was Darrell Royal.  Every time he played at Jones Stadium, before the buildings to the south of it were built, he wanted to defend the south end, because of the strong prevailing south wind.  And this was back before EVERYBODY had a kicker that could put the ball into the end zone on virtually every kickoff.  That would nearly guarantee great field position for at least that quarter. 
And there have been instances when one team would choose to kick off (not just defend a goal - actually kick off), because they believed their defense was so good as to hold the opponent deep in their end of the field, also assuring great field position, first and third periods.

Robert


Offline TexDoc

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2018, 02:01:39 PM »
I don't know, Robert.  I think there is too much important information to receive and convey to not have a coach's pregame conference.  And it should take no more than 5 minutes.  I rarely ever find a game admin.  They are usually MIA unless I wait until right before the game.  All of the game activities that go on need to be conveyed to the R so he knows what's going on, like homecoming, band parent's night, chess club night, whatever.  I have no issue doing the toss early, although I don't see that very often at all.  In my prior chapter, 95% of the games have a toss at 7:15 for 7:30 kickoff so we know what to expect and have a minute to run in for last minute HACK.  But if the coaches want to toss early, I've got no issue with it.  Also, the pregame is an opportunity to get them HC to sign the equipment waiver, which I really don't like, but I do anyway.  This next year, as they sign the equipment waiver, I will remind them of knee pad issues and they need to get fixed or players will be on the sideline. 

I think there is just too much to talk about to do away with this.  And, I've been doing it that way for many years now. 

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2018, 06:35:05 PM »
Doc, the Game Administrator should be required to greet the crew when they arrive.  That is something TASO should fight for fervently.  The R should know who the GA is, and where he/she will be during the game (or how he can get game management assistance immediately, if needed).  That is also when the crew should be able to deliver their invoice(s) to the GA, secure the field mic (if used), confirm game time, pre-game timing, and half time length, and confirm that the clock operators will report to the dressing room at T-60.  Sadly, it is also the time to request the towels and soap (so very often not available unless requested).  But, also the time to express thanks for the hospitality (catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so they say).
Consistently.  Everywhere, every week.

The equipment certification is one thing that would be problematic if we did not have coaches conferences before the game.  Havenít been able to come up with a practical way to get those without conferences, but Iíll keep thinkiní.  Yep, dangerous.  I know.

Robert

Offline Kalle

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2018, 01:40:19 AM »
The equipment certification is one thing that would be problematic if we did not have coaches conferences before the game.  Havenít been able to come up with a practical way to get those without conferences, but Iíll keep thinkiní.  Yep, dangerous.  I know.

How about have the schools/coaches send the certifications in advance to UIL instead of the game officials? Less liability for the officials, possibly more consistent enforcement through the league?

Offline Etref

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2018, 06:16:16 AM »
Because UIL doesn't want the responsibility. If something went south, they can blame it on the officials
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Pre-game Process
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2018, 07:25:19 AM »
Kalle,
What Etref said is right.  They should care, because a player could/would include the UIL in a lawsuit in the event of an injury.  But, as long as the responsibility for securing the certification is with us (officials), then they have some ammunition to deflect liability to us.
As much as Iíd love to ask all coaches to send us a Ďmasterí certificate for all games, prior to the season, too many will not do it.  Theyíd have to send one to every chapter that is scheduled to work their games (home and away), and that would not include additional chapters they might get during the post-season.
Alternatively, they could send a master certificate to TASO, to cover ALL games for the entire season, but, since TASO has no way to compel them to do so, I would bet that only about 10% would do it.  And, if the HC quit or got fired during season, I donít think the certificate would still apply, and the replacement HC would have to send another one, and that would not likely happen.
I donít mind getting certifications each game, but I havenít figured out how do that without having coaches conferences.  Sadly, that alone, may keep the coaches conferences from going away.

Robert