In order to achieve a safe environment for all participants, schools and contest officials must work together to ensure a “Safety Plan” is implemented. Officials are responsible to ensure that the safety of the players is a priority. Schools are equally responsible to ensure that the safety of the coaches, spectators, and officiating crews are a priority. The following is a “Safety Plan” for every GHSA sanctioned contest.
THE OFFICIATING CREW
Prior to the contest communicate your travel/arrival plans with your crew members. Attempt to arrive/leave together. There is strength in numbers. Know who (Game Manager/Administrator) you will be meeting at the contest site. Make sure you have that individual(s) cell phone number.
When arriving at the contest site, park away from the spectator parking area. If a designated parking area is communicated, make sure you have security in that area following the conclusion of the contest. GHSA policy requires host schools to have a secure dressing area for contest officials. Never dress/undress in view of spectators.
During the contest know where the Game Manager/Administrator is located. When problems occur that require their assistance, don’t hesitate to solicit their involvement and then get out of the way. Maintain a high level of “game awareness” and defuse any situations before they can escalate into potential violence. Do NOT respond directly to belligerent spectators. Use the Game Manager/Administrator to resolve or remove an unacceptable situation.
Following the conclusion of the contest, get off the court/field ASAP. Know your exit strategy and communicate it with your crew partners. Avoid contact with coaches, players, media, and especially spectators when exiting the playing area and game site.
Prior to the contest each school should have a plan for hosting an event that includes the aspects of safety for players, coaches, spectators, and the officiating crew. This plan should be well-communicated with the staff members involved in hosting the event. Host schools should communicate with officials about where the designated parking and secure dressing areas are located, but do NOT put signage to announce those areas. This can be potentially dangerous for contest officials.
During the contest make sure that the Game Manager/Administrator is readily available if needed by contest officials. Be aware of escalating unacceptable spectator behavior, and defuse it before it becomes a hindrance to the administration of the contest. Escort officials on and off the court/field with security and/or administration.
Following the conclusion of the contest, provide security and/or administration escorts off the court/field, and ensure the officials are able to get their vehicles safely. Keep all unauthorized individuals out of the contest officials’ dressing area. This includes players, coaches, and spectators, even though the dressing area may be a coaches’ office/dressing area. Prior to the officials leaving the site, check with the officials about anything of concern during the contest.