Author Topic: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?  (Read 11923 times)

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Offline VALJ

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Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« on: October 28, 2010, 02:42:48 PM »
There's apparently some discussion in our association about moving (at least a partial) crew system.  Currently, we're assigned individually game by game.  One of the members on the committee in charge of that debate asked for my opinion, and I'm kind of torn.

On the one hand, I can definitely see where working with the same guys every week can be an advantage.  On the other hand, part of me is concerned about the idea, on a few different fronts, especially as we're getting to the point where we're assigning 7 officials on the AAA games and 5 on the rest of the games.

I'm afraid that we'll end up with "big crews" that only work the local games, and "little crews" that only go out of town.  I'm also concerned that - if it happens -the "good old boy" network will all end up on the big crews, and the newer officials and the ones that aren't part of the network will all be travelling every week. 


I'll also be completely honest and confess that, as a rookie WH, I'd be one of the "road warriors" and never see a game in town without somebody getting hurt or marking off, and it would be like Thanksgiving where I was 19 years old and still sitting at the "kids table."  :) 

I'd like some feedback on pros and cons, especially for those of you that have worked both ways.  Our annual year end meeting is next week, and I suspect that we’ll be spending a lot of the meeting “discussing” this idea. 

110

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 03:07:58 PM »
I can't imagine working with set crews. then again, almost everywhere I've been, it's been a struggle to field a competent crew as we try to blend skills versus availability.

In my previous jurisdiction, we had a couple of teachers who also officiated. One coached at a junior level, and not only couldn't do JV games, also wanted to avoid conflict with varsity games. So we only used this very capable official on six-man, bantam and pee-wee games. Crews wouldn't work for him.

We had another very capable official who worked shiftwork as a rookie cop. He couldn't commit to the same schedules as the rest of us. Crews wouldn't work with him.

In my new home, one of our key officials also teaches at a particular (albeit non-contending) school. He has requested he not be assigned those games. Crews wouldn't work with him.

I have historically had the luxury of flexible Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Some guys don't have that option. Tomorrow, I've got a 4:00 playoff game in a town three hours' drive away. I gotta hit the road by noon. If I were in a banking job, or a government job like most others, I couldn't take that assignment.

I think in this day and age, we have to acknowledge that work-life balance is a challenge. We need to be flexible to deal with the varied demands of our officials.

Offline HLinNC

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 03:08:57 PM »
I can see the pro and con of each.  I've never worked crews and so I'm not familiar with it.  We work game to game but we're small enough that its not like we've never worked with any of the other officials before.
My concern with a crew system would be in the selection process and what happens if you grow weary of your mates or they grow weary of you.

Offline lawdog

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 03:45:12 PM »
I'll preface this by saying I'm in a small 3 crew (now down to 2 usually actually) association.  We swap around a lot and seldom work with the same guys week to week.  I can see plusses to this as our whole bunch of guys gets to pretty much work with everyone and we all work together as an association.  However, from a pure game perspective, I kind of like when I work with the same guys some as you get to know how they work, where they'll be, etc. 

I really notice crew differences a lot when I white hat JV games, particularly different umps spotting the ball and such, it can throw me for a bit...  Next year when I start white hatting varisty games, I'd like to have the same umpire (at least) all the time, but I don't know if that will be possible.  If I was in a bigger association I would want that more as there are lots more guys to adjust to. 

Scheduling for a whole crew can be tough as is mentioned above.  For instance our association has a Section playoff championship game next Friday at 2:30 about 1 hour and 15 minutes away.  Fortunately a lot of us could get to it and we'll have a strong crew for it, but if we were stuck by set crews its not likely all those who can do a game at that time would have been on the same crew.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 05:03:59 PM »
There's nothing quite like being married to the right woman, then again there's nothing quite like being married to the wrong woman either.  I'm afraid the same applies largely to "Crews".  When it's with the right people and works, it can be a real asset as long as you remain honest with each other, continue to push each other towards improvement and all your critical observations remain constructive. 

Scheduling conflicts may require a replacement here and there and it's important to treat the replacement as a quest, because you never know when they might turn into a recruit should a crew member relocate, retire or move up or on.  Confidence is contagious and when you're truly confident your crew mates will always be where they're needed to be, and they're confident in you, you share a rythm and your "game" gets better.

Offline Atlanta Blue

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 05:30:10 PM »
Our local association has always worked individually game by game.  But there is something new afoot this year.  They still do individual scheduling for the first eight weeks of the season, then when they see who the leading contenders will be for playoff spots, they group them together to work as crews for the last three weeks before going into the playoffs. 

This way they get the advantages of working with different people, being able to see strengths and weaknesses of individuals, everyone sharing in road trips, etc., but the people that will be going onto the playoffs have almost a month together as a crew before going into playoff games.

Since it's new, not yet sure how it will work, but it sounds like a pretty good idea.

110

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 06:36:59 PM »
This way they get the advantages of working with different people, being able to see strengths and weaknesses of individuals, everyone sharing in road trips, etc., but the people that will be going onto the playoffs have almost a month together as a crew before going into playoff games.


ooo. I like that. I'm best as an umpire, and I find it really important to develop a relationship with the R. I worked a game with a guy I knew, but not in the u/r positions. We had a ... shall we say, an intriguing dead-ball situation involving a few coaches .... that we would have handled differently had we worked with each other more, and known about the others' values and judgement and so on.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2010, 08:02:24 AM »
Although we don't have a formal "crew" format, it's normal for the WHs to work with the same umpire or same HL for most of the season, and often with a third official.  While this may vary depending on the availability of individuals, it gives good continuity while still allowing the experienced officials to help the younger ones progress.

I like the concept that AB mentioned, and will bring this up when we begin our 2011 meetings next July.

Offline JugglingReferee

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 08:07:09 AM »
We've had this discussion locally and crews are not a good idea, imho, at the HS level.

tow

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 08:08:09 AM »
In Mo,state kind of dictates you work as crew,to be eligible for playoffs,must work at least 5 games with crew at same positions. I like a neighboring association's policy,reassign crews every year.

ppaltice

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2010, 09:04:40 AM »
There are several issues that local associations must address when contemplating a crew system: 1) variable number of games each week (this year, my association had between 6 to 11 games in a week), 2) varying level of competency and 3) varying number of officials needed for a game (our association sends 5, 6 and 7 man field crews depending on the school).

Our association currently have 8 5-man crews.  Each crew is scheduled 9 of the 10 weeks with 1 week off.  We will sometimes swap officials around if needed.  We have a pool of officials that we use to fill out the 6 and 7 man crews, extra games, and clock operators.  It seems to work OK, but it is not perfect.  The great thing about the crew is that you tend to know what everyone is going to do and become more consistent and fluid.  The variable is the 6th and 7th man may not be that strong, (especially if they are pulled out of the general pool).

I have been in other associations that did not have crews, but rather tiers of officials.  I am not 100% positive, but I think the Assignment Secretary would rank the games and assign officials based on the level of the game and the tier of the official.  The problem was that the top tier of officials never worked much with the lower tiers and the same group of officials always worked certain games.

I don't think you can ever have a perfect method.  I like the crew method, but it does have its drawbacks.

Big-Tee

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2010, 12:03:07 PM »
I also live in VA and my high school association has used crews for at least the past 20 years and about 4 years ago we went to 7 man crews for ALL varsity games. The way we are able to keep it balanced is that all the crews work all the schools . You could be working a game with a nationaly ranked school one week and work a game with 2 schools with a combined attendence of less 1000 the next.

Offline Curious

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2010, 12:25:49 PM »
Have read with great interest the various thoughts on crew v independent assignment systems.  Like many others I think both have benefits and drawbacks.

In Michigan, we work 5 man crews (primarily) for varsity games.  Those crews stay together, in many cases, for years; and there is something said for the attendant "comfort factor".  As pointed out, however, there is little opportunity for mentoring younger officials.

PP's last post provided a lot of the administrative requirements/issues tied to (in my opinion) either assignment system.  From my perspective, regardless of the system in use, there needs to be a meaningful - and objective - evaluation process upon which to base assignment decisions.

We are just in the "infancy" stage when it comes to meaningful officials' evaluations.  Some regular season assignments are handled by Assigners and some by Athletic Directors. There are only a handful of observers for the whole state; and way too much weight is given to "coaches' ratings".  Finally, it's sort of a "black box" play-off assignment method.

I would be very interested in obtaining and comparing the various regular season and play-off assignment systems around the country.  If you know of a study that has already been done, I'd would appreciate getting pointed to whomever did it.

Absent that, if you have information on your state, would you please share how many assigners there are; how many schools/territory they cover; how many observers you have; how ratings are determined; and what weight is given to each of the rating components.

If there are any "Refstripes" readers who would be interested in participating in this comparative study, let me know here and I'll hook up with you off-line.

Thanks   

     

Mike L

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2010, 01:37:58 PM »
I'll be the voice in favor of crews. I think they are the way to go if your situation allows it. I see here where some situations would make it difficult.
We are a large assoc servicing 82 HS's (could be 83 or 84 now, I can't keep track) so we have a pretty large pool of officials to draw from.
Each June, the crew chiefs meet to draft from the available pool of certified officials (a few requirements met to be cert'd). 5 man crews, 4 of whom will work the early JV game (yep, it's double header Fridays almost every Friday, some Saturdays). The only other restriction is we may not draft anyone who was on our crew the previous year. No falling into ruts, getting to know different guys in the assoc, no good ol boy problems, having to stick to assoc mech's in order to make it work all while working with the same guys all year. And new guys can and do have ample opportunity to break in.
As for good ol boy assigning....you just have to have an assignor who won't do it and failing that a board that will let an assignor know it's not acceptable. If you don't have that, it doesn't really matter if you're "crew" or "non-crew", the good ol boys are still gonna get all the good games.
As for playoffs, 1st & second rounds are typically "crew rounds". You will work with the crew you had all season. Semi-finals & finals are "put together" 7 man crews of officials eligible to work those games (each level has multiple different eligibility requirements). The good news is you cannot work a final 2 years in a row so that too opens up your chances of getting there..
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 01:49:58 PM by Mike L »

fbrefga

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2010, 04:56:34 PM »
In Georgia, 6 man crews are the norm for varsity games.  My association has adopted the crew concept in 2008.  We have 13 crews where the white hats (I am one) draft 4 other positions; leaving a position open as a floater.  Our assigning secretary will place someone who has worked that position to complete the crew for that particular game.  For me, the FJ is my floating position.

My U and SJ have been with me for 3 seasons; HL for 2 and LJ for 1.  Before each season, we (white hats) must place an individual back into the draft pool.  This allows for changes to hopefully strengthen the crews.  Next season will be tough for me.  Each member of my current crew has had a great year.

My crew, including each week's floater, has benefited from a very special undertaking this year.  Back in March, after leaving the Blue Ridge Football Clinic, my wife offered to record the video for my varsity games this year.  She has lived up to that and has done a wonderful job recording the games.  Each crew member receives a DVD from each game.  This includes the floater.  We will then discuss anything that shows up on video.  I can say that every "argued" call by a coach this year was proven to be correctly called by my crew.  Of course, that does not mean that we did not miss a foul; but we got the calls right that were made.

In a long-winded way, I am in favor of crews.  I am not saying that my association is doing it the right way; but I do see the benefit of working with most of the same guys week to week. 

I believe Al referred to marriage.  Taken a little differently, a crew; whether constant or different each week, contains several marriages that last a few hours.  The R and U are married; so are the SJ and HL as well as the FJ and LJ.  Then the HL and LJ are married as wings.  SJ and FJ are married as deep judges.  Everyone is married regarding fouls and penalty administration.  In order for a marriage to work, trust must be present.  Same holds true for officiating crews.
 

Offline James

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2010, 05:58:23 AM »
In Germany we don't have crews - but the higher levels have less officials, so you end up working with the same people for the games. It basically works out to a crew.

My view is that crews are not so good for the organization as a whole.
Mixing the roster gives your new guys the chance to learn from a variety of more experienced officials, and helps create standards for all the games. People learn from each other how to handle the situations, and I think you end up with less extremes about things like when to call holding, or how to handle sidelines.

The advantage of the crew is that you know each other - but that can be as much a disadvantage if there are problems. The officials might also get in the habits of taking knowledge or information for granted - since they 'know' each other so well. The scheduling (as stated above) gets more complicated as well.

LarryW60

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2010, 09:46:59 AM »
Our Association works 5-man crews primarily but we'll work as many Saturday H.S. games as they give us with a 7-man crew for the price of a 5-man crew (an incentive to have the games scheduled then).  We do this for the 7-man experience because the State Tournament games are 7-man.  Our main problem with the crew system seems to be that many officials on crews are blocking multiple Friday nights.  This disrupts the crew continuity (the whole point of HAVING a crew system).

Offline VALJ

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2010, 05:47:14 PM »
Guys, thanks for the feedback, both pro and con.  I'm not sure how our association will decide things, but thanks!

RickKY

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2010, 08:49:36 AM »
Our association assigns games by crew.  We have 11 regular 5 man crews.  Working in a crew provides for familiarity and stability in a crew.  We work Freshman and JV games with different crews to provide for uniformity of mechanics across the association.  We also have rules and mechanics discussion at training meetings.  Over the course of the season I have worked with my varsity crew for most games with a couple of substitutes due to scheduling conflicts due to employment.  I have worked multiple freshman and JV games with a variety of crews.  I think it is a good method of scheduling and works well for us.

NKOA contracts with 29 high schools in 11 counties
11 full time crews
We had 14 crews out in week 1 of playoffs by mix and match experience with first and second year officials
99 active officials in our membership in 2010
We also work 4 junior or youth leagues and middle schools

Offline BIG UMP

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2010, 10:30:50 AM »
I have worked in both systems and when my association started discussing crews I made a suggestion and the association bought in.  We went to mini-crews.  The R, U and H were established as a crew with the remainder of the crew coming on an assignment basis.  It gave us a core group to work with and still have the game to game change of officials.

We have offered to vote the last two years but full crews and individual assignments have never even gotten a nomination. 

We are a small association for Tennessee with 68 officials servicing 17 high schools and 25 associated middle schools.
Big Ump


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Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2010, 09:26:19 AM »
One thing that has always been in short supply is patience, although it seems to be getting even shorter.  The ultimate key is "snaps", the more snaps you see the better you understand what you're looking at.  Worling different positions, with different people broadens your experience, and if you're serious, your skill set.

There seems to be an awful lot of wasted focus directed at what's happening and who's thinking what, outside the sidelines rather than directing full attention to what's going on within the lines.  What position, what level, which schools really doesn't matter.  What does matter is the number of snaps.  The more you see, the more you're able to see, the more you're able to see, the more your seen.

Getting on a crew AFTER you've been exposed to a lot of snaps at different positions provides you with a much better feel for how the positions interact with each other, and how each position leans on each other.  A crew is something you grow into, and something best not rushed.

footballref

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Re: Crew assignments versus individual assignments?
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2010, 09:09:54 PM »
We work crews during the regular season and then split up during the playoffs.

I think crews and non-crews both have their pros and cons.

The crew concept is great working with the same guys each week. Also doing things the same over and over. This is great if you like the guys you are with and they way things are done. If someone has a schedule conflict they can choose to block and their position will be filled by someone else in the association.

Come playoff time we go away from crews. It is sometimes fun working with different people, but things are done differently and that can make things awkward...even the little things.

I think not working in crews could standardize the way things are done throughout the association. When in crews you do things that work good as a crew, but may not be great when someone different is around