The ArbiterSports Interview With Karen Leinaar
How ArbiterSports Can Save Athletic Directors Up To Two Hours Each Day.
About MIAAA: The MIAAA was founded over 60 years ago and is committed to improving the quality of athletic programs throughout Michigan schools. The Association provides education, training and networking opportunities to Athletic Directors as well as establishing guidelines and policies for programs and services
ArbiterSports: Karen, could you be so kind as to tell us a bit about yourself?
Karen Leinaar: Well, I started in this profession 40 years ago because I wanted to work with kids and coaches, and this was a profession I was raised in. Before I was Executive Director of the MIAAA, I was an Athletic Director for 38 years at several school districts in Michigan and I was on the board of Directors for NFHS from 2009 – 2013.
ArbiterSports: Today, we’d like to focus on how ArbiterSports can save Athletic Directors up to two hours each day. Can you tell us how you do it?
Karen Leinaar: With Arbiter, it actually might be more than that. First of all, it begins with entering all my data one time, in one place, and that’s a huge time savings in itself. For example, I enter all sorts of scheduling data once and it automatically populates to all the other sites and platforms I’m integrated with including GoFan for digital ticketing. I enter it once and it goes to my state association, it goes to my live streaming site, it goes to parents and students, and it’s published immediately. It’s a one-step, no nonsense, time-saving masterpiece. It’s a huge time saver for us plus you lose the likelihood that you’ll forget to include that information and data somewhere in some disparate software.
ArbiterSports: So right off the bat, so to speak, you’re saving vast amounts of time.
Karen Leinaar: Yes, right off the bat or from the tip-off. And there are other huge time-saving features of Arbiter products like real-time game change notifications. This is huge particularly on the school side. I can select everyone, or certain people, who need to be notified under various circumstances. For instance, on a game cancellation, I’ll notify everyone right away. If there’s a time change, there are certain people who need to be notified first and others later. For a home game, more people are notified than for an away game. Facility people really don’t care if it’s an away game. Again, this is a huge time saver because we have the ability to notify all people or specific people all in one place, all from Arbiter without forgetting anyone and having to circle-back to double-check if we notified everyone.
ArbiterSports: Every AD has to field parent phone calls, some of which are unavoidable, but others aren’t necessary. How do you approach this particularly with real-time notifications?
Karen Leinaar: Rather than dealing with many parent phone calls about game and event changes, our schools save time by giving parents instructions on how to become ArbiterLive Followers; we even create a QR Code to make it easier to sign up. I tell parents if you want to call me about a change, you’ll probably hear back from me two hours later, or after the game, so if you’re leaving work and on your way to a game, and want updates and notifications, you should sign up as a follower. This saves them time, but also saves our Athletic Directors so much time, too.
ArbiterSports: So, what about paying officials and other 1099 workers, many ADs tell us this isn’t just time-consuming for the athletic department, it’s time-consuming for accounting?
Karen Leinaar: If you want to realize enormous time savings, not just for ADs, but for all the people involved in the payment of gameday workers, you need to look at Arbiter Pay because this saves several hours each day for a lot of people. Just like a notification, we can pay all workers at once, but we can also make changes on the fly if someone is sick, doesn’t show up, or has to cancel for any reason. We can pay their replacement that same day, we don’t forget to pay people, we’re not walking around the facility with paper checks, and we’re not trying to resurrect a paper trail. And this doesn’t even include collecting W9s from officials, issuing 1099s and all the time-consuming things that must happen before a game. In the past, we estimated that it took our office between 1-4 hours per new official to get them signed up and paid. Now it takes less than 5 minutes, and not surprisingly, we have hundreds of officials so you can imagine how time-consuming this was. It’s fast, it’s clean, we’re not losing anyone’s information, the information isn’t shared and I don’t need to worry about those things anymore. In short, I sleep at night.
ArbiterSports: So, it sounds like you’re not just a sports fan, but also an Arbiter fan?
Karen Leinaar: An ADs job is so much more than what we thought going in. It’s scheduling, finding officials, transportation, parent involvement, logistics, coordination with rivals, but in the 10 years I’ve been working with Arbiter, it’s been so much easier, with so much more time saved. Communication is simpler; imagine trying to do all of this with pencil and paper. With Arbiter, it’s so easy, so fast, it’s 24/7/365 and believe me, I’ve tried others, but Arbiter is the one we always come back to. And just as Arbiter says, they really are a one-stop-shop from registration and eligibility to scheduling and paying. This is one of those products that makes lives easier for everyone, and saves hours each day, so I stand behind Arbiter and continue to recommend the company and its products.