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Dis-association: UHSAA recognizes new group

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MIDVALE — Just like that, it's officially over.

The old volleyball referees association is officially out, and the new association is officially in charge.

"It's not that the other one doesn't exist," said UHSAA associate director Rob Cuff at a Monday night meeting where the new association's leadership was elected and training began. "It's just not recognized by UHSAA. If those in the old association want to join this association, that would be totally cool. But right now, we have an association of non-workers and an association of workers."

After a decision by the UHSAA Executive Board to change prep volleyball's format from 2-out-of-3 side-out to 3-out-of-5 rally scoring at all levels, many officials said sub-varsity needed to remain 2-out-of-3 or officials needed a raise to compensate for the increased match time. When neither happened, many officials voted not to work.

UHSAA staff decided to see how many new officials they could recruit while trying to persuade veteran officials to work this year and help them collect data that could be used to ensure a pay raise next year. Currently there are 65 officials registered and working on the Wasatch Front. And with the season in full swing, the heavy schedule left about a half-dozen games with just one official last Thursday. UHSAA staff are also having a hard time covering more rural areas, and he asked that officials be willing to travel for the sake of the players.

"We still need to serve our smaller or outlying schools, and we've had a hard time doing that," he said. Cuff also announced that an e-mail vote had been taken of the Executive Board on Friday that would allow regions to slightly modify the format. If all principals in a region voted to do so, instead of playing 3-out-of-5 to 25 points at the sub-varsity level, a region could opt to play the first two games to 25 and the next three to 15 points. Cuff said regions 9,11 and 13 have all voted to do that. Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 have yet to report the outcome of their votes which were taken on Monday, he said.

That will be the law for coaches until Sept. 24th when the Executive Board will discuss the issue again. Cuff said it is unlikely that they will not change something as most coaches and officials have reported significantly longer matches.

About 31 of the working officials showed up to Monday's meeting, and after some discussion about what the group's leadership should look like, they elected representatives from each geographic area and two at-large representatives. The officials decided to be led by a committee of five working officials: Teri Jackson, Ogden; Kirtley Jackman, Provo; Vern Rogers, Salt Lake City; Lisa Peshnell, at-large; Paul Merrell, at-large.

The committee was elected for a term of two years and will have their work cut out for them as they train the numerous new officials and try to mend fences with the more than 70 registered officials still opting not to work. They will also oversee the collection of data on how long the new format takes to play and then see that gets to the UHSAA staff and executive board.

E-MAIL: adonaldson@desnews.com