EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – High school football officials in El Paso are moving from a five-man crew to a seven-man crew for high school football games beginning in 2019.
The Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) approving the change for El Paso during their board meeting on June 13, which will take effect for this upcoming high school football season.
The change will be implemented for varsity games only.
“The purpose of the change is to allow two more deep officials to watch all of the receivers as they go down the field,” said TASO rules interpreter Bill Scott, who is also a current college football official in the Mountain West Conference. “It’s because the game has evolved from a running game to a passing game. Those two extra set of eyes will really help make more accurate calls.”
Officials in major cities in Texas like Dallas, Houston, and Austin have already implemented seven-man mechanics. El Paso has now been given the green light by the TASO for this season.
“El Paso has worked on it and this is the year they finally got the approval from the athletic directors and the coaches to go ahead and expand,” said Scott. “We are trying to learn from their [Dallas, Houston, Austin TASO chapters] growing experiences over the past couple seasons.”
The perception of local athletic directors and coaches has been: more officials, more flags. Scott believes that will not be the case.
“That’s not our objective,” said Scott. “Our objective is to be more accurate on the field with the penalties we do have.”
There is currently a nation-wide shortage of officials in all sports, but football especially, which has made the expansion more difficult in those areas. However, El Paso has a surplus of officials.
“El Paso is one of the few areas in the entire country where we have enough officials to adequately staff the assignments we get,” said Scott. “The reason for that is we have a lot of military members at Fort Bliss. While they’re here, they want to help out and work with our local chapter.”
The high school football season in El Paso is set to kickoff on Thursday, August 29. The season premiere of the award-winning 9 Overtime is set for Friday, August 30.