by Al Myers
One thing that has happened over the past three years has been the development of an USAWA Officials Program. The program started in mid-2009 with the initial guidelines. Since then the program has been improved with rule amendments requiring additional criteria. I finally feel that we now have a TOP NOTCH officials program, and that is something to be proud of. Before 2009 several programs had TRIED to be initiated, but failed. Anyone at that time could be an official in an USAWA meet, without any qualifications. The previous rulebooks had NO guidelines established for becoming an official, other than a couple vague lines such as these, “all officials must be approved by the USAWA”, and “the general secretary shall maintain a list of the national officials”. That’s it. There’s no point in having rules/laws if they’re ambiguous, and are not enforced. Now if you want your lifts to count you MUST be officiated by a certified USAWA official that is listed on the Officials List. If this does not happen – the lift/meet was not official, and all invalid results will not be reported in the meet results on the website as well as no records being established. That’s “the bite” for not following the USAWA rules.
I’m VERY EXCITED to report a couple of “firsts” that have just occurred within the Officials Programs. Ruth Jackson has just successfully passed the USAWA Rules Test and will become the first USAWA member to undergo the Practical Training Session in becoming an USAWA official. This change was just passed at the past USAWA meeting as further development of the Officials Program. She will have one year to accomplish this training. The development of the Officials Program has been a gradual plan to allow for it’s success, with additional requirements being added yearly. I have felt that the reason the previous official programs have failed were because of a couple factors, 1. requiring “too much” to begin with that NO ONE wanted to abide by, and 2. No penalties/ramifications for not participating in the program (afterall, before you could STILL be an official in all meets with the SAME privileges as someone certified ). The IAWA(UK) has ALWAYS been WAY AHEAD of us with their officials program, and have required practical training for years before an IAWA(UK) official could be certified. Now I feel our officials program is as good (if not better!) than theirs.
The second “first” is that Chad Ullom has become the first member to apply and be granted Level 2 certification. Congrats Chad! This requires an official to be qualified in TWO CATAGORIES , thus the name Level 2. Level 2 officials are required to have passed the testing requirements, AND the experience requirements. Level 2 USAWA officials are considered the TOP TIER of USAWA Officials, and have Lifetime Certification.
All the details of the USAWA Officials Program are outlined in the USAWA Rulebook and on this website under “Officials List and Rules Test”