(Editor's note: Now that the Iowa high school basketball seasons are drawing to a close with the state tournaments, here's a reminder about what to expect next season (2006-2007).
The Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) have voted to adopt three person officiating mechanics for their tournament series competitions effective with the 2006-2007 season.
The change means all sectional, district, regional, sub-state and state tournament games beginning with the 2007 tournament series will be officiated by three-person crews. Schools will retain the current option of using two- or three-person crews during the regular season.
Currently, Iowa is the only state in the Midwest which does not use three person mechanics for all or at least part of its state-tournament series games. With the change, Iowa joins Kansas, Illinois and Minnesota who use three-person mechanics for all tournament contests. Missouri,
North Dakota and South Dakota use three-person mechanics for selected games, while Nebraska joins those ranks in 2006.
"Nationally there has been a steady movement away from two-person crews over the past decade," said Troy Dannen, Executive Director of the IGHSAU. "Basketball has evolved into a side-to-side, end-to-end game with significant action away from the ball. This evolution has created a more physical game. Three-person crews permit better coverage off the ball and help insure the physical nature of the game does not get out of hand."
Rick Wulkow, Executive Director of the IHSAA, was officiating NCAA Division I men's basketball when the change from two to three officials was implemented at that level.
"Three person officiating has become a trend nation-wide in high school basketball, noted Wulkow. There are two definites in my opinion; first, we will have better coverage of playing action and secondly, our veteran officials will remain in the game longer. With both organizations implementing the three person system, training officials for this chance will be enhanced."
The IHSAA and IGHSAU will use the 2005-2006 season to phase in the new system of mechanics by providing training sessions throughout the state emphasizing three-person floor coverage areas and responsibilities, as well as reinforce proper interpretation of rule situations.