The respective officials’ associations for high school football in Nassau and Suffolk have agreed to use split crews for the Long Island Championships this weekend.
“We’re excited to have the associations working together for the betterment of the Long Island championships,” said Tim Horan, the Suffolk football coordinator. “We want to give the student-athletes, coaches, and our fans the best experience possible. To do that, the officials have partnered to make this happen.”
Matt McLees, the Nassau football coordinator, said the partnership of officials will go a long way toward reducing the perception of any kind of bias.
“We’re just trying to eliminate the optics and or perception of any impropriety at such a big event, and be fully transparent,” said McLees. “Unfortunately, it’s human nature to blame the officials all the time and that’s just not the case. We’re really pleased to put this together.”
Horan explained the five-man officiating crews will each have an official in the box, who are familiar with the teams’ offensive schemes. The white hat, which is the referee, who stands behind the offense, will be from the host county and the umpire, who stands in the middle of the defense will be from the visiting county.
“This way we’ll have an official from each county working in close proximity to the offensive and defensive lines,” Horan said. “The officials were getting together this week and discussing mechanics, roles, and rules interpretations. They’ve really embraced the concept and it’s going to enhance the games.”
The crews working the Long Island Class IV and Class II games at noon and 4:30 p.m. respectively at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium will have three Nassau officials and two from Suffolk.
Each team will have a side judge on their sideline from their county and the back judge will be supplied by the host county.
“We’re working together to combine the top officials for the biggest event on Long Island,” said Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI, which governs Suffolk’s schools. “I commend the chairmen in each county for working through the details so we can put on a first-rate event.”
“This partnership between our officials will enhance the games and keep the focus on the student-athletes and the respective communities,” Horan said. “We want everyone walking away, win, lose or draw feeling positive about the event.”
The officials for the Long Island Class III and Class I games at noon and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium will have three Suffolk officials and two from Nassau.