"As the Illinois High School Association’s football administrator, my inbox on Monday mornings in the fall is often filled with messages asking me to review calls or judgments made by officials during the course of that weekend’s contests.
Just this weekend, I received an email from Monticello Schools Superintendent Vic Zimmerman regarding an IHSA official and a situation that occurred at the Sages game at Macomb High School on Saturday.
However, it’s not what you probably think. Vic passed along the photo above (taken by Ann Wildman)
showing one of the IHSA Officials who worked that game chatting with Monticello head coach Cully Welter’s young son on the bench prior to the game.
The images of what occurred in a high school football game in San Antonio, Texas on Friday night remain fresh. The video of a player maliciously taking a running start to level an unsuspecting official followed by a second player piling on have rightfully been played endlessly on TV and social media.
Obviously these are actions that are not tolerable in any walk of society, but they represent an even more dangerous perspective on how we as a society view and treat the individuals who govern our games. The photo from Monticello is a great representation of who IHSA officials are at their core. They are members of communities, who officiate to remain connected to the games that they often played and coached. They love the game and enjoy being around it. They sacrifice time away from family and friends to give back, and most find more value in the camaraderie than the modest game check they receive.
Ultimately, officials will not get every call right, but they must be respected by all student-athletes, coaches and fans. I would call upon all coaches to speak with their student-athletes regarding the respect we owe our working officials. There are many life lessons to be learned through educational-based athletics. Let’s make this a teachable moment for the students we serve."
IHSA Assistant Executive Director & Executive Director-Elect
Football Administrator & Director of IHSA Officials