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Bobref

Officiating in a Seller’s Market

Question

Got a very interesting e-mail this morning. If you’re an IFOA member, and subscribe to their “officials needed” distribution list, when ADs or assignors contact the IFOA looking for officials, an e-mail blast goes out. On this morning’s list was the following:

“9/13 Tipton @ Cass - will pay travel - 700pm EDT” (emphasis in original)

This is the first such announcement I’ve ever seen that makes any mention whatsoever of compensation as an inducement to the officials. And the IFOA has offered this service for many years.

As a consequence of the current shortage of officials, which is only going to get worse in the next several years, is this going to become more common? Is the day coming when schools will be soliciting officials, using game fees, travel pay, and amenities as inducements, and actually competing against one another for officials? Will we see a time when the best crews will be able to charge their price, rather than have the schools set game fees?

Right now there is a dispute going on between local officials and the schools over game fees in Florida. The officials have refused to work without a pay raise. As a result, the state association has stripped those officials of their eligibility to work any games in the state. The pre-season scrimmages which would be happening now have been canceled. It’s an ugly situation. Is it a harbinger of things to come?

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I have seen emails offering $100-$150 for lower level games. This has been going on in Baseball for a couple of years. 

I know some conferences set prices for officials so that schools can't out bid each other for officials. 

We see pay all over the place, some schools are currently paying $100 for a V game and the bottom side I've seen recently is $65. We got a $68.50 check last  year as well,  I can't help but wonder how the arrived at that number. We drove 2 hours last year for a game in rain and mud, ending with some freezing rain for 65 bucks. They did have towels for us and a decent shower, but the general consensus was "we ain't coming back here". And I will admit, we have not taken games based on pay/dressing facilities/decent showers and a towel. When I was still coaching, I used to take care of officials during tournaments at Seymour, and Seymour hosts a bunch of tournaments. It takes very little effort to take care of them, and they'll remember you and want to come back. As far as pay, I never expected to get rich doing this, but geez 65 bucks for 4 1/2 hours of my time, not including travel, is kind of a slap in the face. Forget the fact that officials have a skill set that is require for you to have the game. 

Regardless the current situation is not good for the game, which ultimately is why we're all here. I don't know what the answer is, but we need to start thinking outside the box. 

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43 minutes ago, Coach Nowlin said:

most crews I know would settle for a 12 pack on ice post game :classic_biggrin:

Tack on two pizzas and its game over for my crew....

 

You may want to make it 15 on ice, so three for each...

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52 minutes ago, Coach Nowlin said:

most crews I know would settle for a 12 pack on ice post game :classic_biggrin:

I'm not naming names, but I know for a fact that a 12 pack and a pint of Makers one night did not make it the 15 minute ride from the liquor store a block down the street from New Pal to Cheeseburger in Paradise in Southport. Again, I'm not naming names, but I have heard there are some crews that are drinking teams with a football habit.

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Posted (edited)

We have an opening on 9/13, but that is a bit too far for us, even with travel covered.  We live in SW Indiana.  

 

Our crew chief had an idea that if someone had a game as far north as Indy, maybe we could take their game and they could take the Cass game.  But we do not know too many officials north of Bloomington.  

Edited by SoIndRef
addition

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Is it time for the IHSAA to take over, and centralize, the game assigning process?

Something I’m sure the IHSAA wants no part of.

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13 hours ago, Bobref said:

Is it time for the IHSAA to take over, and centralize, the game assigning process?

Something I’m sure the IHSAA wants no part of.

No.

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On 8/15/2019 at 5:07 PM, Bobref said:

Is it time for the IHSAA to take over, and centralize, the game assigning process?

Something I’m sure the IHSAA wants no part of.

Something like that with regional assigners are how most states do it. The assigners are often the local associations and those associations contract with schools/conferences. That's what happens in Florida where the dispute you referenced earlier is happening. Their issue is the state caps all officials pay at $65 per official. But the local associations are able to negotiate "travel fees" that often add $10-$15 per official. They were protesting the state setting a maximum even though the schools could easily increase the travel fee so the state cap really isn't limiting.

I think some kind of assigning system would be better. We are booked out through 2023 and most of 2024. That's crazy! I have no idea if any of us will be officiating in 2024. But we need to get games when they become available. Each week there are schools double booked and crews that disband and don't notify the schools. It's only going to be worse as the shortage gets worse. There is a different level of politics involved with assigning but at least everyone will know where they are week to week and schools won't have to worry about a contracted crew disbanding or a crew won't have worry about finding out about a double booked game.

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