Season Update: July 21st, 2020

Lot’s of stuff to catch you up on, please take the time to read this entire update carefully.


First and foremost, we hope this note finds you and your family well.  The AD’s have been busy with lot’s of stuff so here’s the most recent update. 

Some or all of the CO high school football season may go, not go, be delayed, or be moved to Spring.  All options are still TBD and largely depend on the Governor’s decisions. Presently scheduled games may be cancelled or rescheduled. Officiating assignments may be changed weeks, days or even hours before game time. All of these possibilities require us to maintain our flexibility up to and through the football season. That includes being physically and mentally prepared to officiate football starting on August 20. While none of us can predict the future, current restrictions are intended to improve public health conditions so that schools can safely reopen in August. Sports, including football, is intended to be part of that reopening.  As we have said before, flexibility will be our “mantra” for the season.

From all indications at this point, there will be some kind of football season.  If you have decided that you will not be working high school football this fall, please let the Area Directors know as soon as possible. There will be ABSOLUTELY no consequences for sitting out this season. We respect each official’s decision, however, the sooner you let us know, the sooner we can make adjustments to fill vacancies.  If you have already made up your mind, please let us know ASAP.

This note came in from George D. at CFOA late today….  Here is the update on the master clinic:
“We will not be having a Master Clinic until a season start date is firm and we are able to discuss the COVID protocols which we will have to follow.”
We will be posting the PPT file of the 2020 rule changes on the DFOA website.  Feel free to download and distribute as needed.

The updated plan for Area Meetings in August is:

Tuesday Aug 4 (In Person) – Crew Chief meeting 6-6:45 pm, Area Meeting 7-8:30 pm. Englewood HS Turf Practice Field (next to stadium). We will meet by position to limit the number of officials in each group. We must adhere to current public health guidelines, therefore, MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY and OBSERVANCE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES. We will not be able to provide masks at the meeting so please have one of your own available.

Wednesday Aug 19 (Online) – Area Meeting 7-8 pm. Online meeting by position. Each position will have a separate online video meeting setup. You will receive an invite with all login information.

Tuesday Aug 25 (In Person) – Area Meeting 6:30-8 pm. Englewood HS Stadium field. We will disburse on arrival into four equal groups with one group in each corner of the field. We must adhere to current public health guidelines, therefore, MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY and OBSERVANCE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES. We will not be able to provide masks at the meeting so please have one of your own available.

For the outdoor meetings, a notice will be posted on the DFOA website and a message sent to all members ASAP if weather forces a cancellation. If necessary, we may start as late as 7:20 to allow adverse weather to clear the area. More information on the agenda for each meeting will be provided as the dates approach.

Teams are continuing conditioning and practice with intra-squad 7 on 7 drills but without physical contact. As CHSAA waits for approval from the Governor, school districts have been releasing and revising their specific reopening plans. Many districts are delaying the start of school and/or starting with online classes. We do not yet know how this will impact the start of the Fall sports season in those districts. Some states have delayed the start of the Fall sports season or pushed Fall sports back to Spring, either alongside the traditional Spring sports or in a split, with Fall sports played first followed by Spring sports. Three all-star football games have been played in the last week, in Kansas, Nebraska and Illinois. Of our surrounding states, New Mexico postponed all Fall sports to Spring, but Kansas, Utah and Wyoming are proceeding with Fall sports on schedule. 

NFL officials will be wearing masks and gloves during the 2020 season. Many will use electronic whistles. NFL officials are also reviewing 5-man mechanics in case crews are short of officials.  College officials are being encouraged to consider protective equipment including gaiters that can be worn down and pulled up when the official is close to or talking with coaches, players or other officials. If you are interested…breathable, cooling, moisture-wicking neck gaiters for sports are available in black or white on Amazon for under $10. A set of four for $15 is available at: [LINK EXPIRED].

For Crew officials, 2020 Rule and Case books were distributed through the Crew Chiefs. Pool officials were mailed directly to the official. New / transfer official books have NOT been distributed yet. If you are on a Crew and don’t yet have your books, please contact your Crew Chief. If you are a pool official and don’t have your books, please contact the Area Directors.

Testing is now open in Arbiter. All officials must take the Mechanics Test. New officials and Veteran officials who are NOT interested in playoffs can take the Veteran Rules Test. Veteran officials interested in playoffs take the Playoff Rules Test. You are not required to take both the Veteran and Playoff Rules Tests, but it is a great way to prepare for the season.  This is a DECREASE in the testing requirements from the past and a direct result of a proposal submitted by DFOA on behalf of the membership.  We listened to you and solicited this change in 2019.

In past years, Rule books and other NFHS materials were available on Arbiter in the NFHS-MAIN tab. That is no longer the case. NFHS has created a competitive application to Arbiter and migrated those materials to that new platform (known as Dragonfly). CHSAA will continue using Arbiter. 2020 Football Rules and Case books can be accessed through the NFHS Rules mobile application for $6.99 or on the iTunes Book Store.

In 2020, we will be electing two new Area Directors.  The terms for Joel Pogar and Jeff Penney will conclude on December 31st of this year.  If you have an interest in taking a leadership role within DFOA, please consider applying for the Area Director position.  Applications will open in August with a general election in September.  The new AD term will run from January 1st, 2021- December 31st, 2024.

With Joel’s term ending as an AD he would like to transition the website to a new administrator (does not need to be an AD).   Our site is self hosted and utilizes WordPress, Elementor and WooCommerce. Joel has agreed to maintain the site through the end of 2021 but would like to start training the next administrator as soon as reasonably possible.  If you have a technical background and would be interested in taking over the role of website administrator, please contact the Area Directors or Joel directly. 

Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 health department restrictions we cannot have DFOA Veteran Officials attend the July 29 and August 5 Rules classes which are a part of the New Officials classes. If you are a Transfer Official and want to attend one or both of these classes, please contact John Conklin at as there may be limited space available.  Please do not show up unless you are a new official, a presenter, or have made prior arrangements with John Conklin…we may have to turn you away.

For those of that that didn’t catch it, John Conklin was featured in a 9News segment about HS Football Officiating in these strange new times.  It was a good 4 min segment and can be viewed on our website. 

Many DFOA officials want to know what goes into the assigning process and how to get assigned to “better” games. Assigning must take into account many factors. It is not one person “playing favorites.” Instead, it is a group of people working within the limitations of Arbiter and our inability to perfectly predict how good specific teams and games will be during the upcoming season.

The assigning process begins in early March with the DFOA Area Directors determining how many crews can be maintained based on the number of registered officials. Throughout the late winter and early spring, schools work directly with each other to agree on non-league and league game schedules including the site, date and time for each game. Each school submits its home schedule to the assignors to input into Arbiter. As the games are inputted, the assignors monitor the number of games on each Friday night to make sure the number of games does not exceed the number of crews, with some crews working at the four Denver area doubleheader sites – Jeffco, Trailblazer, ACF and APSS. If necessary, schools are requested to reschedule games off of a Friday night. After the games are inputted, the games are distributed by pushing a button in Arbiter. Then, the assignors review the assignments, paying special attention to: Foundation games, rivalry games, and high profile games. Adjustments are made as necessary. Adjustments may involve input from crew chiefs. The Area Directors, assignors, and crew chiefs want to setup all officials for success, not failure, while challenging all of us to improve.

Please consider the following points about assignments:

  • You may be assigned to a doubleheader because the assignors have the confidence that you have the athletic ability and mental toughness to do a good job from the kickoff of the first game to the final horn of the last.
  • You may be assigned a rivalry game between two struggling teams because the assignors believe you will do a good job of controlling the emotions and managing the game.
  • You may be assigned a travel game because in fairness to all it is your turn or because the assignors know that you are reliable and will arrive on time.
  • You may be assigned to work outside your crew to either help evaluate or train other officials or to be evaluated or trained by other officials, and to “cross-mix” some of the knowledge and techniques we can share with each other.
  • Assignors don’t know and don’t care what games will be on TV when assignments are made. Long after officiating assignments are made, TV stations pick high school football games to televise based on markets they believe will attract viewers and increase their advertising revenue.
  • Assignors don’t know which games will be for a league championship. Veteran officials know that every year there are teams that perform better or worse than expected. More often than not the week’s best game to officiate was not the best game on paper.
  • Assignors assign high profile games to officials who have proven themselves to be reliable and consistent in rules, mechanics, judgment, game management and handling high pressure situations.

Does this mean that you should not strive to be a better official? Absolutely not! The way to show the assignors you are ready to be considered for “better” games is straightforward. Just like players and coaches, there is variable skill, talent and ability that impacts the performance of officials. It is DFOA’s job to evaluate performance and to provide members with training opportunities to improve performance. What can you do as an individual official to improve and demonstrate your performance? 

  • Seek and engage in training opportunities;
  • Seek and engage in learning from more experienced officials;
  • Be honest with yourself about your performance and where you can improve;
  • Be patient about your development, particularly if you are a newer official or transition to a new position;
  • Be involved;
  • Approach every game with enthusiasm and perform at your highest level; and
  • Have fun and enjoy officiating!

In addition to on field performance, the Area Directors and Assignors look at each official’s off field communication, involvement within DFOA, meeting attendance, mentoring, not turning back games  and working sub-varsity assignments. These are all factors in determining your level of officiating.

Whew, that was a lot!  But as the season gets closer, the activity ramps up.  As always please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.


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