Operating Policies

2023 Northland LOA operating policies

Adopted November 19, 2022

Proposed November 19, 2022

Last revised November 17, 2022


1. Annual dues

The dues for 2023 (January 1 through December 31) are $50 per official for all new and experienced officials, including junior officials. These can be paid by PayPal or by making other arrangements with the Northland Treasurer. Directions will be sent to current members and new recruits regarding how to make the payments.

To vote at the annual general meeting for 2023, members must have their dues paid for 2023. The due date for payment for this year is December 10, 2022; after that date, officials may be assessed a late fee of up to $20 and will not be eligible for 2023 game assignments until dues are paid.

The executive committee may, by majority vote, decide to lower the fees for individual members in some circumstances (e.g., to help with recruiting and developing officials in areas outside the Twin Cities metro area). The executive committee may also offer reduced dues, typically $20, for (1) junior officials as associate non-voting members (provided the official completed adequate annual training with another group) or (2) people who join Northland LOA after the summer season; however, these reduced rates are generally available on a one-time-only basis, so in future years these officials would need to pay the full membership fee.

The executive committee may waive the 2023 dues or issue a credit toward 2023 dues for any member who paid full dues or associate member dues in 2022 but who did not work any games for Northland LOA.


2. Membership requirements

Per the bylaws, to be eligible to vote, a member must

  • complete at least US Lacrosse Level 1 Training (or have completed equivalent officials training prior to the creation of the US Lacrosse training program)
  • have paid dues for the upcoming year (e.g., to vote in elections, the member must have paid dues for the year corresponding to the term of the executive committee members)
  • have worked at least 5 boys lacrosse games
  • not be currently under any Northland LOA disciplinary action that states that the member may not vote

In addition, the bylaws state that to be eligible to vote, a member must “meet any other requirements set forth in the operating policies for members in good standing.” Those requirements are that a person must:

  • be at least a freshman in high school and at least 13 years of age
  • be up to date in assigning fees
  • sign the Northland LOA Independent Contractor/Membership Agreement

To be able to be assigned games and keep assignments through Northland LOA, a person must:

  • be a member in good standing
  • complete required annual training for his or her levels of officiating, as determined by the training committee
  • complete a rule tests or rules tests for his or her levels of officiating, as specified by the training committee
  • have the required uniform and equipment
  • be a current member of MSHSL or USA Lacrosse for insurance purposes (and provide evidence of such)
  • be in physical condition to handle the demands of the game for his or her levels of officiating

There may be additional requirements for working some games at some levels (e.g., to work MSHSL varsity games, officials must also meet all MSHSL requirements).


3. Annual training requirement for experienced officials

This section covers training for officials who completed Level 2 training or equivalent in a previous year. For officials who have not yet completed Level 2 training, see the next section.

All returning officials must complete training on rule changes and mechanics changes (roughly 1 hour) and training on Northland LOA points of emphasis for the upcoming year (up to 2 hours, covering the most important rules and mechanics issues the training committee feels need review).

Experienced officials (those with 5 or more seasons of high-school level officiating or with an evaluation indicating they have achieved proficiency) may take additional optional training sessions.

Other officials with Level 2 training and 1–4 years of experience at the high-school level must complete an additional 3 hours of training from a curriculum to be determined by the training committee. These officials may participate in additional optional training sessions as well; if they complete a training session in one year that is required for them in a subsequent year, they will not be required to repeat that session.

Before working their first MSHSL varsity games, officials must complete some classroom or online instruction in three-person mechanics (to be determined by the training committee) and an on-field training session.

The training committee will accept input from the membership about topics that should be covered in training via an annual survey. The training schedule will be published in December, and training classes will generally be offered in January through March. There will be in-person classes with Zoom options. There may be some online training options as well.

The training committee will set deadlines for training, keep records on each official’s training, and inform the assigner if there are people who do not complete training by the deadlines.


4. Training requirements for officials who have not completed Level 2 training or equivalent

The training committee will determine the format and requirements for officials who have not yet completed Level 2 training (or, for officials who started before Level 2 training existed, the equivalent training). Once those are determined, they will be subject to executive committee approval and then added to these operating policies.

Officials who have not completed Level 2 training but who are ready to move up to working high school games will complete Level 2 training.

Officials who have previously completed Level 1 training will complete Level 1 recertification.

New officials will complete Level 1 Training.

Training guides will be made available for each of these training tracks.


5. Training instructor payments

Instructors will be assigned using Arbiter and paid via ArbiterPay, check, or electronic payment (e.g., Zelle). For 2023, payments will include a per-hour fee for classroom/online instruction time of $45 (and may also include travel fees and development time for presentations, subject to board approval).


6. Assigning Fees for MSHSL games

There are no assigning fees paid by officials for any games other than MSHSL games and scrimmages. There is a flat fee of $5 per varsity game and $3 per JV, freshman, and B game.

Officials are expected to keep their blocks updated to avoid declines. Each official gets 1 free “no questions asked” decline or turnback (for one game or set of linked games on the same date); additional turnbacks or declines without a good excuse (e.g., an injury, a funeral) are charged the assigning fee for the games that are turned back or declined. If there is a dispute over whether a decline/turnback fee should be assessed, the executive committee can vote to vacate the fee.

The assigner will confirm availability with officials before assigning games for the next day or the same day even if officials are unblocked.

Each official’s forecasted assigning fees are due March 1 and are paid to Northland LOA. An additional amount will be billed (and due roughly June 15) if the official’s actual assigning fees at the end of the season are more than that official’s estimated payment. Northland LOA will issue a refund to the official if the official’s actual assigning fees at the end of the season are less than the official’s estimated payment.

The executive committee can waive or modify these deadlines for hardship cases.

The executive committee may assess late fees for missing assigning fee deadlines.

The assigner will be paid half of the estimated assigning fees by Northland LOA on April 15 and the balance of the actual assigning fees on June 15.

Northland LOA will pursue officials who are late paying their final assigning fee billing.

It will be standard practice to have one or more officials assigned to be “on call” for each Monday through Saturday during the spring season. Officials will not pay assigning fees for those assignments unless they are converted to actual paid games.


7. Game Fees

The executive committee will approve, and Northland LOA will publish, a schedule of minimum game fees and travel fees that includes provisions for how payments for canceled, suspended, and terminated games will be handled. The fee schedule will also cover per diem amounts for long-distance travel.

The fees listed in the schedule may increase during the year but may not decrease.

In some situations, higher fees than those listed in the schedule may be negotiated with leagues, tournaments, or schools.

Officials who are late to a game or who miss a game are obligated to report to the assigner which games or portions of games that they missed; fees will generally be voided or pro-rated in these situations. Accepting payments for games or portions of games not actually worked is a serious ethical violation that will generally trigger the Northland LOA disciplinary procedure. Similarly, it is an ethical violation to mislead teams, leagues, or tournaments about travel fees.


8. Uniforms

For all spring MSHSL games (varsity, JV, B), officials will wear the standard uniform with a striped shirt. All officials working MSHSL games should have short- and long-sleeved striped shirts, black shorts, and black nylon rain pants. Additional uniform information will be posted on the website.

For youth games and off-season games, officials may wear:

  • striped shirts or black T-shirts
  • white hats or black hats with white piping.

In all games, all officials in the crew must be identically attired (no mixing of short and long, stripes and black shirts, etc.).


9. Complaint form

A complaint form will be created online and will be the formal report form for complaints. Any person wishing to complain about a Northland LOA member will be directed to that form, and that will initiate the discipline procedures as outlined in the bylaws.


10. Communication

There will be occasional announcements posted on the announcements page in the Northland LOA ArbiterSports.com group. Other avenues Northland LOA may use to communicate with members are email and texting (contact information for Northland LOA assigners and executive committee members will be posted in ArbiterSports.com and the www.NorthlandLOA.org website.

Northland LOA may use the following social media platforms to communicate with the lacrosse community at large:


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