Upper Midwest Lacrosse Officials Association

Upper Midwest Lacrosse Officials

ArbiterSports.com FAQs

What is the most important thing about Arbiter?

Setting accurate blocks and keeping them updated. If you don't keep your blocks updated and decline a lot of games, you might find yourself with no games at all for the rest of the year.

Arbiter Support Site

If you have questions that aren't answered on this page, try the Arbiter Support Site.

Profile

 Click the "Profile" tab and update your personal information. Be sure to enter your address because some leagues access this information to send you checks. Click the "public to other officials and contacts" checkbox so those contacts can access your address and send you checks.

Click "Phones" and enter all contact numbers (home, work, cell: be sure to label them appropriately); be sure that you make your numbers "public." Use the "Notes" section next to each number to indicate preferred method of contact (e.g., "Texting okay" or "No texting"; effective July 1, 2014, it will be assumed that texting is okay for any cell numbers unless you state otherwise). If you don't have your contact numbers entered and have them "public," coaches can't call you if there's a last-minute change or cancelation. If that happens and you show up for the game anyway, you won't get paid.

Please upload a picture as well by clicking on "Picture" on the left side of the profile page; this helps make sure coaches evaluate the correct officials. It has to be a reasonably professional looking photo where your face is clearly visible. See the Arbiter Photo Upload Instructions for more information. Note: If your picture flips sideways, the file is probably too big; save it as a lower resolution and try again.
 

Sharing schedules

If you use Arbiter for multiple sports or groups, click on "Profile," then click the "Sharing" sub-tab and share everything possible. This allows me to avoid conflicts with games you might have in other groups.

This is especially important for college lacrosse officials so assigners can avoid giving you high school or youth games before college games on the same day but so they can give you assignments after your college games.

Announcements

 Check the announcements page each time you log in to see if there is anything new.

Block dates

 Use Arbiter to block any date and time you could not accept and work a game if one were assigned to you. See the Arbiter tutorial on setting blocks. If you have trouble with that video, this Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association video is another option. Times you should block include:

  • Times you are in school or work
  • Times when you have practice
  • Times when you have games
  • Times when you might be playing in section playoff games (the section playoff schedule is published about a year in advance.
  • Dates when your HS team could be scheduled for playoff games
  • Times when you want to be asleep
  • ACTs/SATs
  • Prom
  • Vacations
  • Any other time you would not accept a game if it were assigned

You must have some blocks set every week: pretty much no one is available at 3:00 a.m., so blocking something like 1:00 AM-5:00 AM shows that you didn't just forget to set blocks. If you don't have any blocks set, the assigner will likely assume that you are being irresponsible and will avoid assigning you to games. Do not check the "ready to be assigned" checkbox until your blocks are set.

Setting your blocks and keeping them updated is extremely important. It is assumed that if you're listed as available and assigned a game you will accept it. (Adult officials: You can decline one JV/V game or pair of games for free each season. If you decline additional games, the assigning fees for those games will apply.)

If you are unsure whether you will be available, you are generally better off blocking the date in question and then unblocking when you are sure you are available than you are leaving yourself open and then having to decline or turn back games.

In general, you should set your blocks up until the time you can leave wherever you'll be on that date. Arbiter calculates travel distances and times and is usually pretty accurate. However, if you need to go somewhere after a game, you will need to set the block to account for travel time after the game as Arbiter has no way of knowing where you are going (e.g., if you need to be somewhere at 8:00 p.m. and you block 8:00-midnight, you could still get assigned a game from 6:00-8:00).

If you are in different groups for Arbiter (e.g., you officiate hockey and your assigner uses Arbiter), be sure to pay attention to the part where they show how to block dates and times in one group or another (our group is 102390). Note that you cannot set blocks for any group unless you are logged in to a group that assigns you games (e.g., if you are logged into ArbiterPay or the US Lacrosse Central Hub, you can't set blocks for officiating).

Turnbacks

If you are assigned a game and accept it, you have to contact the person who assigned you that game to turn the game back (this would be the person from whom the e-mail came announcing that you had new games). Assigning fees generally apply to turnbacks but are waived for unavoidable situations such as injuries.

Please note that you are not to find your own substitute if you cannot make a game; that is the assigner's job (if you know someone who is available, you can suggest that person, which is often helpful and appreciated; however, the final decision is the assigner's). If you can't contact your assigner, contact another UMLOA assigner (Harold Buck, Matt Dempsey, or Brad Scibak; you can get their contact info from Arbiter). If you can't contact anyone, make sure you have e-mails and phone calls in to the assigner, the backup assigners, your partner or partners, and the home team head coach or host site contact. Suspensions may result if you do not attempt to contact these people and do not show up for a game.

Travel limits

 You can set your travel limits and departure ZIP code by day of week. This is helpful if you'll, say, be leaving from work in Minneapolis on weekdays and from home in Buffalo on weekends. Please remember that the wider you set your travel limits the more games you are likely to get. For summer games, 25 miles or more for weeknights is generally appropriate, and longer for weekends (there are normally only one or two tournaments on a weekend, so if you have a narrow travel limit you will probably get no games on most weekends).

After you sign in, click "Blocks," then click "Travel Limits" in the sub-bar. Click the pencil icon to edit a day. Set your departure ZIP code for that day and the distance you are willing to travel. Click the checkmark to save the changes.

Please note that there may be some days when we need you to travel farther than you've set your travel limit. You can turn such games back without penalty (although people who are flexible tend to get more games).

"Ready to be assigned" check box

After you have your profile set up and your travel limits and blocks set, check the "Ready to be assigned" check box on the arbiter start page. If you don't do this, you will not get any game assignments!

Schedule

Once you get assigned games, you'll get an e-mail announcing that you have new assignments. Log in and click the "Schedule" tab. Make sure you click "List view" on the left side if that is not already checked. This will show you the games. Click "Accept" next to each game or set of games and click "Submit" (if you don't click "Submit" the games will not be accepted). Again, you should have your blocks set so you should not need to decline games.

In your schedule, you can click on a site to get the address for that site and to get the site contacts; click on the address for directions. Click on the game number to see your partners. Click on an official's name to get contact info for that official. Click on a team name to get team contact info.

If you're assigned games that are linked together, you can't accept one game and decline another. Contact your assigner if there's an issue and he may be able to help.

Once you accept a game, you'll get e-mail updates if there are any changes to the games. You'll also get an e-mail reminder a few days before the game.

Schedule Filters

Arbiter has updated the way it shows your games. There is a filter at the top of the mail part of the page. It lets you select whether you are seeing games in the future, games in the past, all games, games in the next 30 days, and so on. You need to be in "list view" to see the filters: click the button for list view on the left side of the page.

If you get an email from Arbiter telling you you have new games and then you log in and don't see any new games, it's almost certainly because you don't have the filter set to show future games. Select "future games" from the menu and click "Apply" (not "Submit"; that is for accepting or declining games).

If you work games in multiple groups (e.g., UMLOA and MCLA lacrosse; UMLOA lacrosse and another sport such as hockey, football, or basketball), you can also select which groups you see when applying a filter. 

Master schedule

 You can access the full schedule for all games, not just the games you are assigned to, by clicking "Schedule" and then clicking "Master Schedule" in the sub-bar. In many cases, Arbiter will reflect changes to games before coaches announce those changes to their teams. Of course, if you attach yourself to games, you will get a notification automatically when a game moves (see below).

Calendar feed

See the Arbiter Calendar Feed instruction page for information about how to get Arbiter to send accepted games directly to your calendar program.

ArbiterConnected text messaging option

Some officials have difficulty checking your e-mail regularly (the expectation is that you check your e-mail daily and that you always check it on the day you have a game prior to leaving for that game). ArbiterSports offers a service that allows you to get text message notifications whenever you would normally get Arbiter e-mails (you can also get e-mail notifications at multiple addresses). Details on the service are posted at the ArbiterSports Connected page. The UMLOA pays for this service for all officials, so you do not need to pay the annual fee.

To activate the service, log into your ArbiterSports.com account and select "Mobile" from the menu bar. Then enter the phone numbers and email address you want included and select which kinds of notification each one should get.

Note: Starting in 2017, you are expected to have Arbiter Connected set up so that if, say, a game is canceled on game day in the ArbiterSports.com system the automated text notification sent to your cell phone will serve as your notice. You do not need to set up the service—say, if you don't have a cell phone with texting—but then it is your responsibility to check ArbiterSports.com before you leave for games to make sure there have been no changes. 

Lists

 You can use the "Lists" tab to print out a directory of officials to keep in your bag. You can also check the list of sites or contacts by clicking the appropriate sub-tab.

Evaluations

After each game, you should click "Evaluations" and evaluate your partners (although if you work with the same person multiple times and its all about the same don't bother doing separate evals for each game). These are intended as a way to help you improve. Evaluations are anonymous; when a minimum of 5 coaches and/or officials evaluate you, you will be able to view responses.

ArbiterPay

In order to get paid for most games, you will need to set up a ArbiterPay (formerly RefPay) account and link it to your Arbiter account. Please see the ArbiterPay for Officials Page for instructions.

Why does it list a dollar amount or say "NOT Paid"?

Games that are paid via ArbiterPay will have a dollar amount listed. This may change prior to payment depending on the rate of pay you are eligible for. If a game says "NOT paid," that means it is not paid via ArbiterPay and you should either expect payment on site or you will be sent a check shortly after the game. If you are being asked to do a game for no pay at all, the assigner will generally make that clear prior to the assignment.

Saving a copy of your schedule

You will generally be give about a one-week notice prior to the removal of the previous year's games from Arbiter. At that time, you should save a complete copy of your schedule for tax purposes. To do this:

  1. Log into your Arbiter account.
  2. Click "Schedule."
  3. Make sure the "Date" pulldown menu under "Filter" says "Show all" or "Past."
  4. Check all groups you wish to have on your schedule (e.g., UMLOA, MCLA). Unless you officiate multiple sports or work college games, you will see only "UMLOA."
  5. Under "Reports," click "Schedule."
  6. Choose a date range (e.g., 10/23/14 through 10/23/15).
  7. Choose a report format (I recommend .pdf, but with Firefox you may need to do Excel).
  8. Click "Print preview."

Depending on your browser, the file may go to your downloads folder, open in a new window or tab, or something else. If you have trouble, try a different browser.

Blocking a team

As explained in your training guide, if there are teams for which you have a conflict (e.g., you work at the school, you have a child that plays for that team, you are a recent graduate), email your assigner and asked to be blocked. If the situation changes in the future, you will need to ask to have the block removed; they stay there forever otherwise. 

"Attaching" yourself to a game

If you play on or coach a team—or if you have kids playing on a team and you intend to go to all of their games—you should block any dates and times when you are unavailable because your team is playing or practicing. However, you should also attach yourself to your team's games. This will ensure you are blocked when your team has games scheduled, even if those game times and dates get changed in Arbiter.

To attach to a game, log into ArbiterSports.com, click "schedule" in the menu bar, then click "attach" in the sub-bar. Select the sport, level, and team, then attach to any of those games. 

You won't be able to attach yourself to playoff games until a few days beforehand because the schedules come out so late. Block yourself for any dates your team could have playoff games, and then unblock yourself if you end up not having games on those dates. For MSHSL teams, you can find your section and the section playoff dates by going to www.mshsl.org and selecting "boys lacrosse" from the "activities" menu. For MBSLA games, playoff schedules are posted at www.mbsla.org

"Linking" your US Lacrosse and UMLOA ArbiterSports accounts

You must link your US Lacrosse and UMLOA ArbiterSports account by following the instructions in the Linking Arbiter Accounts document. If for some reason your US Lacrosse and UMLOA ArbiterSports accounts have different email addresses associated with them, you must merge the accounts by following the instructions in the Merging Arbiter Accounts document.

If you aren't certain whether your accounts are linked, log into your UMLOA account, click "Profile," and look under your picture. If there isn't a US Lacrosse icon there under "Eligibility," your accounts are not yet linked.

If you have trouble with this process, contact US Lacrosse.

Setting up your ArbiterPay (formerly RefPay) account

You must follow the instructions posted on the UMLOA AribterPay Instructions Page to get your ArbiterPay account set up. If you don't follow this step, you can't get paid for most games.

Location placeholders

ArbiterSports.com lets you specify a "leave" zip code under travel limits by day of week, but it doesn't let you specify that you will, say, be in Duluth from April 9 through May 7 for college, or that you will be in Fargo for May 5 and 6 for your job. But there is a work-around.

Fake games have been added for Fargo, Duluth, Mankato, Winona, Rochester, St. Cloud, and the Twin Cities. If you will be in any of these cities, you can attach yourself to the fake games on those dates, and you will show up as being in that city when I assign that date.

Once you do this, be sure you are unblocked for any dates and times you can work, whether at the out-of-metro city or when you are at your normal home addess.

To attach to these fake games:

1. Log into ArbiterSports.com 

2. Click the "Schedule" tab

3. Click the "Attach" sub-tab.

4. Select "Meetings" from the "Sport" menu.

5. Select "Location placeholder" from the "Level" menu.

6. Select the appropriate city from the "Team" menu.

7. Check off all of the dates you will be in the city.

8. Click "Submit."

If you follow these steps, you should show up as being available in the correct city when I am trying to assign. 

If you need this for a city not listed, let me know and I can probably set something up.