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  • 6/30/2017

    Dear Water Polo Referee or Other Interested Party,

    Welcome, or welcome back, to the NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE website! As the National Coordinator of Officials (NCO) for men's and women's water polo, I want to welcome you to this important resource for officials, administrators, coaches, and others who are interested in helping improve the officiating in our sport. The purpose of this letter is to introduce you to this site and to provide you with some sense of what the NCAA, through my position as NCO, is doing to improve water polo officiating throughout the country. This letter is directed primarily to referees but in the interest of transparency is addressed to everyone who has an interest in what the NCAA is doing to improve officiating across the country.
     

    Registration on ADVANTAGE

    Most of the content on the ADVANTAGE website will be open to the water polo community, but only to registered users. There are four categories under the "Registration" tab:

    Referees:  Must register and pay an annual fee of $65 in order take the rules test required to officiate any NCAA contest. Please note that the NCAA will conduct background checks this year on all officials who register on the NCAA central hub in the sport of water polo.  The background checks will be conducted for the dual purposes of student-athlete safety and the integrity of the NCAA championship. Only those officials who satisfy the requirement will be considered to work the NCAA championships. The cost for the background check is included in the registration fee.  More details regarding the background check will be provided at the time of registration. In addition, the Evaluation and Reporting functions described below will only be available for registered referees. I strongly encourage any referee who has an interest in officiating collegiate water polo at any level in the future to register for this site.  CWPA Referees:  Contact CWPA regarding registering for the 2017-18 season. Do not complete the registration under the Registration Tab before speaking with the CWPA Office.

    Conference Commissioners, Supervisors of Officials, and National Evaluators Group (NEG):  The registration fee will be waived.

    Coaches:  There is no registration fee for coaches who will have access to all areas of the site except testing, evaluation, and reporting.

    All Others:  All other interested members of the water polo community are invited to register for an annual fee of $30 and will have access to all areas of the site except testing, evaluation, and reporting. If you officiate community college or club water polo using NCAA rules, this would be the category you would register under. High school officials and members of USAWPR are also invited to register for the site.

    The ArbiterMobile app is now available at no cost to NCAA registered officials. To download the app, please complete this season's officials' registration, and then click here to read ArbiterMobile FAQs.

    The NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE Website

    The NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE platform allows us to do a number of things we have not been able to do the past; this is the value added that referees and all others can expect for your registration fee. Initially, there are four areas that we are focusing on for this new resource.

    REGISTRATION AND THE RULES TEST:  The rules test will remain a 50-item multiple-choice, open book test, designed only to require that you review the 2016-17 and 2017-18 NCAA Water Polo Rules Book and know the rules. Since this the second year of the two year rulebook cycle, hopefully you won’t find it too difficult. The rules test should be available sometime after 8/1.

    REPORTING:  The NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE has allowed us to create a centralized and simplified method of reporting red cards, flagrant misconduct, and fighting. Ultimately, this will allow us to increase accountability for players, coaches, and referees.

    EVALUATIONS:  The NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE allows us to consider all of the evaluations that are done across the country by NCAA conferences as we make postseason assignments. There is one standardized evaluation form being used by all entities, and the system allows each referee to see all of his or her evaluations, the game involved, and the name of the evaluator who did the evaluation. The system also allows the conference Supervisors of Officials and the NCO to look at all of the evaluations on a particular referee so that when it comes time to select the referees for conference and national championships, there will be much more complete and accurate data for all of the referees under consideration. Obviously, the goal is to link a referee's performance to his or her assignments at the end of the season.

    TRAINING:  Probably the single most exciting potential of the NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE is in the area of training. We are able to put up as much video and written content as we can produce; meaning that we can focus on areas of concern so that every referee across the country hears and sees the same things that we are talking about at the national level. Athletes and coaches have access to this area as well; allowing us to increase the amount of communication that goes on between the players, the coaches, and the referees. Registered members of ADVANTAGE receive an email when something new has been added to the site, which they should review.
     

    THE YEAR IN REVIEW, CURRENT STATUS, AND THE PLAN GOING FORWARD

    Hopefully by now you know about the National Evaluator Group (NEG). This is a group of very experienced, dedicated, knowledgeable, and motivated water polo people. Beyond their roles as Evaluators and Instructors on the deck, they have been helping generate the material that goes on this website, especially in the area of training. This helps everyone involved (referees, evaluators, coaches, athletes, and spectators) to understand what the NCAA Water Polo Rules Subcommittee is looking for with respect to application of the rules as they are written. As these materials are completed, they are put up on the NCAA ADVANTAGE website in two sections: “CURRENT RULES: INTERPRETATIONS, CLARIFICATIONS, AND INSTRUCTIONS TO REFEREES” and “2017-18 TRAINING MATERIAL”  All registered referees are required to view and respond to each module in order to remain an active referee. Coaches who register on ADVANTAGE also have access to these training modules.

    Last August the NEG hosted the inaugural NCAA Referee School at three sites across the country (Long Beach State, Santa Clara University, and Villanova). Attendance was mandatory to be considered to officiate either the NCAA men's or women's championship, and every water polo playing conference endorsed attendance at the school as a requirement to officiate in their respective conferences. Approximately 100 referees from across the country convened at these three sites for a day and a half of presentations on topics ranging from a Rules review and test, to the Points of Emphasis, the criteria used to evaluate officials, and even a little performance psychology. We received valuable feedback on how to improve the next school, which will be held in August, 2018.

    The other big initiative we started this year we are calling the Next Generation initiative. The Next Generation refers to the search for officials with the potential to become elite level (NCAA Championship caliber) referees, and then provide these officials with an opportunity to demonstrate their full potential. Initially we identified twelve referees from across the country to participate in this program for the 2017 Women's season. These names were proposed by me and vetted by the Conference Supervisors. Each of these twelve officials was assigned a sponsor from the NEG, and was evaluated multiple times by a NEG member using both live observation and video review. The results were encouraging: of the six referees selected to officiate the women's Championship in Indianapolis, three were from the Next Generation group.

    The process will begin fresh in the fall, to coincide with the men's season. The NEG is currently in the process of reviewing the status of approximately fifty officials across the country who will be placed in one of three categories: “Known Quantity,” Next Generation,” or “Future Consideration.” Officials in the Known Quantity category by the nature of their assignments are already evaluated on a regular basis and therefore their place in the hierarchy of Officials is well established. Officials in the Next Generation category do not routinely receive the same evaluation opportunities and the NEG believes that if they did, the might demonstrate that they belong in the Known Quantity group. Finally, officials in the Future Consideration category are those that have been identified as being potentially deserving of moving up but due to limited resources (evaluation opportunities) cannot be accommodated at this time.

    Stay tuned for the release of this new Status Report which will come out by mid-July. As always, if you have questions about any of this, please contact me.
     

    SUMMARY

    There are many more ideas in the works right now, including a new rules video for games played in shallow bottom pools, a standardized regional clinic schedule, a weekly "Education Through Illustration" series, and an interactive section for rules clarifications. We have been experimenting with the use voice activated radios, which appear to have the potential to dramatically improve collaboration between officials, thus increasing the likelihood of getting a call right. We are also going to try having three referees on a game to see if that helps. The goal of all of these initiatives is to generate a higher quality and consistency of officiating across the country. So welcome to the "new normal," aka, the NCAA Water Polo Officiating ADVANTAGE website. I encourage you to check back on this website frequently because there will be frequent updates and new resources available. Please direct all comments to: Bob Corb, NCO, at ncaacoordinator@earthlink.net or 562-773-7413.

    Sincerely,

    Bob Corb
    NCAA National Coordinator of Officials (NCO) for Water Polo

 
 
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