New software program helps athletic directors with scheduling, officials

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Fairbanks High School athletic director Larry Morris reviews 2017 fall sports schedules on his computer. Modern-day technology has assisted athletic directors in matters such as scheduling and the assignments of game officials.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
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With modern-day technology a big factor in nearly everything involved with everyday life, it is only natural that it is working its way more and more into high school athletics.
Larry Morris, who has resumed duties as Fairbanks High School’s athletic director-dean of students, is taking full advantage of that fact.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association began a little more than a year ago to offer software to its member schools to help with scheduling contests and assigning officials to those games.
“This will be the second full year that the OHSAA has offered the program,” said Morris.
Conference schedules are put together by each league’s representatives.
The newer software program is beneficial when it comes to athletic directors scheduling non-conference games. That is especially true in basketball, where the season has expanded to 22 regular season contests for both boys and girls teams over the past few years.
The program also helps athletic directors find officials for various contests.
“The demand for officials is increasing, especially for spring sports,” said Morris. “However, we are finding that the officials pool is decreasing.”
The software can be used by potential officials as well.
School schedules include places where referees can plug their names into slots to work games throughout the state of Ohio.
“It’s like a clearing house for officials,” said Morris. “They can see what games they could like to work and put their names on the list.
“It’s like an ‘Amazon’ for athletics.”
Morris said software programs of this nature have been used by collegiate athletic departments for a number of years.
“It’s now working its way down to the high school ranks,” he said. “It’s still in its infancy and nobody is younger at it than I am. My comfort level with it is still a little fragile.”
Morris, who formerly served as a technology instructor at FHS, recently spent time at a three-hour workshop, sponsored by the OHSAA, learning the new system.
“The workshop was for new athletic directors,” said Morris. “There are so many different elements about it (the program).
“It will eventually make things easier, but it’s not right now,” he said. “That’s because there are new elements and you have to get used to it.
Morris said advances in technology are the biggest changes to the athletic director position since he held the job at Fairbanks a quarter century ago.
“There are still some bugs to work out in the program, but the OHSAA is committed to making this work,” he said. “You still get some telephone calls from other schools on the confirmation of games, but this will save some time on the phone.”
While the program will eventually make things easier for athletic directors, Morris hopes it doesn’t replace the personal interactions between school AD’s.
“I think the meetings we have as a conference will establish those relationships,” he said. “However, teams can generate those relationships better than one person in the athletic office.”



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