The Northeast Alabama Football Officials Association is preparing for the 2019 high school season, which begins Aug. 23 with what the AHSAA labels “Week Zero.”
The association’s first meeting is scheduled for July 24 at 7 p.m. in the Guntersville Public Library’s conference center.
The second meeting is July 31 at 7 p.m. at the Scottsboro Rec-Com. The third meeting is Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Fyffe High School cafeteria.
Those who want to join the association should contact booking agent/executive secretary Bud Moore at 256-582-4685. It’s best to call him at night. Andy Robertson serves as president and Crash Cannon as vice president of the association.
The AHSAA approved a pay increase for officials that goes into effect this season. Five-person crews in regular season varsity games will make $110 each. Seven-person crews in regular season varsity games will make $100 each.
“It’s been a while since we had a pay increase,” Moore said. “They had talked about this for a year or two. It was a good increase for the varsity level.
“The cost of getting to games and meetings has increased, and it seems like every year the cost to outfit an official has increased. When I first got into officiating, I bought a full uniform for $99. Now a good pair of shoes cost $99.”
The Northeast Alabama Football Officials have contracts with teams in Marshall, DeKalb, Blount, Jackson, Madison and Cherokee counties.
The association officiates games on the varsity, junior varsity and middle school/junior high levels. Officials usually work two nights per week, but some could work three nights a week due to the number of games on the schedule.
“We’ll work them as much as they want to work, and we’ll work around their schedules,” Moore said.
A major rule change for the 2019 season is games will now feature 25-second and 40-second clocks, which colleges have been using for several years.
“Coming out of a timeout or at the start of a series you’ll use a 25-second clock, but not after a first down,” Moore said. “When a play is over, you will immediately start the 40-second clock.
“We used the 25- and 40-second clocks in our jamborees. I like it. We talked to all our coaches about it. Clocks at all stadiums will be set for both. You’ve got to have 25- and 40-second buttons. They’re all getting those handled.
“This will make it to where a coach who wants to get in several more plays during the game can do so.
“We need guys who really want to help us in running a clock. We need quality clock operators. Ex-coaches and ex-officials who don’t want to be on the field can be clock operators.”