Author Topic: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?  (Read 1438 times)

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Offline TampaSteve

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 11:56:59 AM »
by no means am I familiar with the ins & outs of HS budgets; however, wouldn't schools draw monies for sports (equipment, officials, etc.) from either the County or State?

Offline HLinNC

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 07:56:10 PM »
It would appear that Florida might be like NC.   Tax dollars here are not spent for athletics beyond staff supplements, buses, and some facilities.

Offline yarnnelg

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2020, 10:36:50 PM »
Those were Florida numbers. Having been on the board across from Tampa (SFOA) I can safely say that all of Pinellas County, with the possible exception of Countryside and East Lake, will be hard pressed to earn more through increases in gate receipt prices. No one comes to the games!

Bad news for the writer, on the west coast ... increased pay will not attract more Officials. We might, on a good year, have four newbies. By mid season they would be down to two. The next year? If one remained, we were lucky.

The state gave a school budget. The Administration provided or carved out an athletic budget. The Athletic Director dealt with equipment and official's pay. Say, five home games, pay for field and clock operator and that entire season's budget was calculated before the first ball was teed up.

Offline Magician

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2020, 07:26:08 AM »
Pay is never the primary reason someone decides not to continue to officiate. It may be a mitigating factor, but it's never the primary reason. For example, the time commitment due to work or family obligations may make it difficult for them to work games. If in their mind the pay isn't worth it, it may ultimately push them out.

The fact states with the highest pay rates have the same shortage issue is further evidence pay isn't the primary issue. That doesn't mean we shouldn't push to get the most we can get, but I would stay away from the argument it's the primary reason we are losing people.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2020, 07:34:26 AM »
The Alabama HSAA rebated a total of $2 million to its member schools for the 2018-19 school year. The money comes from a $1 per ticket “tax” on all playoff tickets in all sports, plus fines collected, media rights fees, and corporate sponsorships.

Offline NorCalMike

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2020, 01:10:12 AM »
Pay is never the primary reason someone decides not to continue to officiate. It may be a mitigating factor, but it's never the primary reason. For example, the time commitment due to work or family obligations may make it difficult for them to work games. If in their mind the pay isn't worth it, it may ultimately push them out.

The fact states with the highest pay rates have the same shortage issue is further evidence pay isn't the primary issue. That doesn't mean we shouldn't push to get the most we can get, but I would stay away from the argument it's the primary reason we are losing people.
In California, we make $89 for a varsity (5 man crew) and $54 for subvarsity (5 man crew). Since I just did my taxes this week, I know that after deducting for mileage, uniforms, dues, and misc. expense I made -$83 for the 2019  :'(. You got that right. I was in the negatives this year. So I am definitely not in it for the money.

Offline dammitbobby

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2020, 09:49:24 AM »
Pay is never the primary reason someone decides not to continue to officiate. It may be a mitigating factor, but it's never the primary reason. For example, the time commitment due to work or family obligations may make it difficult for them to work games. If in their mind the pay isn't worth it, it may ultimately push them out.

The fact states with the highest pay rates have the same shortage issue is further evidence pay isn't the primary issue. That doesn't mean we shouldn't push to get the most we can get, but I would stay away from the argument it's the primary reason we are losing people.

I've thought about this the last few days, and I'm not sure I agree with you.  Fundamentally, it's a function of supply and demand.  To increase the supply (of officials), compensation has to be of enough value to make people give up their time, and other resources, to fill the need.  While things such as strain on family time is VERY real, and undoubtedly is a reason for many, I think it's pretty clear that compensation is an integral part of the equation here, and for many, it would be the primary... if the financial need is there, you could almost certainly make more money, doing other things, that probably place less demand on other variables, such as family time. NorCalMike's post above shows how (from a financial perspective only) officiating can be a fruitless endeavour, but personal satisfaction and enjoyment doesn't pay the bills.

I would bet that if any association doubled their compensation, they absolutely would have a lot more people wanting to officiate, and a lot less leaving the avocation. Obviously a hypothetical, but at least in my area I am positive the compensation is a, if not the biggest, factor (that feeling of not being paid enough for time/to put up with coaches, helicopter parents, etc) in people leaving.

Offline carol1995

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2020, 12:19:42 PM »
I've heard guys who have been around for 40-50 years mention that officiating numbers increase when there is a downturn in the economy.  When less people are working, more sign up to be officials to have money coming in.  In our current economy, it seems that everyone (who wants a job) is working.  I haven't seen this first hand, but it makes a lot of sense.  It's not bad money if you have the time to work every night possible. 

Offline Magician

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2020, 05:37:33 PM »
I've thought about this the last few days, and I'm not sure I agree with you.  Fundamentally, it's a function of supply and demand.  To increase the supply (of officials), compensation has to be of enough value to make people give up their time, and other resources, to fill the need.  While things such as strain on family time is VERY real, and undoubtedly is a reason for many, I think it's pretty clear that compensation is an integral part of the equation here, and for many, it would be the primary... if the financial need is there, you could almost certainly make more money, doing other things, that probably place less demand on other variables, such as family time. NorCalMike's post above shows how (from a financial perspective only) officiating can be a fruitless endeavour, but personal satisfaction and enjoyment doesn't pay the bills.

I would bet that if any association doubled their compensation, they absolutely would have a lot more people wanting to officiate, and a lot less leaving the avocation. Obviously a hypothetical, but at least in my area I am positive the compensation is a, if not the biggest, factor (that feeling of not being paid enough for time/to put up with coaches, helicopter parents, etc) in people leaving.

One key factor I have for this opinion is Georgia and Texas both pay approximately double to what Colorado does and both have similar shortages. I'm not saying it's not a factor, but it's not THE primary factor. If people enjoy doing this they aren't going to stop doing it because they are only paid $80 for a game rather than $100. If they are missing out on family time or creating a work stress (i.e. leaving early or unavailable to work games) that is the primary reason and increased pay may result in them feeling the pain is worth it. But ultimately I don't feel raising pay will help resolve the shortage issue. We need better environments for newer officials to work in and better training and mentorship for the newer officials to help the get through this stage. We all went through it and it's not always easy. Ultimately we need to a much better job recruiting. We can just put up a few posters, place an ad online and hope people come. Poll your current members. I guarantee the number source of your current members was a personal invitation from someone to become an official. We need to do more of that and provide avenues to help those who respond get started.

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2020, 01:12:00 PM »
I've heard guys who have been around for 40-50 years mention that officiating numbers increase when there is a downturn in the economy.  When less people are working, more sign up to be officials to have money coming in.  In our current economy, it seems that everyone (who wants a job) is working.  I haven't seen this first hand, but it makes a lot of sense.  It's not bad money if you have the time to work every night possible.
Over the years I've seen many become sports officials when they are jobless, had their work hours shortened, have their children grown or retired. I've often wondered if their major reason was lack of income or more free time. IMHO, officiating is a great hobby, and made greater by being a hobby that you get paid for. If money was a prime factor, one could make more by being a greeter at Wal-Mart with much less pressure - both physical and mental - without any startup costs (uniforms & equipment). More free time gives you the chance to be involved in a game that you love. Focusing on the game always seems to put the worries of the world on the back burner.

When the game ends, the greatest reward is when the losing coach sez' :"GOOD JOB,REF." not the amount of my paycheck. Would I officiate for free ? -NO. I expect something, but value the "GOOD JOB, REF" over  green pictures of dead presidents. In America, we all can have differing opinions. That's mine.

 tiphat:

Offline TampaSteve

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2020, 02:08:39 PM »
I think 'hobby' is a fine way to describe officiating.
Some guys bowl (and spend money) every Friday, while others work games (and get a bit of money).

I think factors to not getting more new or younger guys or maintaining newer guys are several factors:
1-big upfront costs
2-the number of meetings in Spring, before and during the season - time commitment.
3-not enough training or willingness to train from old dogs
4-no perceived opportunity to work Friday in the near future (related to #3 or stubbornness of old dogs not wanting a new guy-- "I've had my same crew for x years."; good ole boy club)

Conversely though, new guys generally work exclusively youth - a lot of snaps, a lot of games (up to 9 at some locations), a lot of nonsense to deal with oftentimes and tax-free cash money (instant gratification).
Most new guys will work the last half of the MS season too and get to cut their teeth more.

If they, say, doubled pay as mentioned, would more guys come out? - maybe, but reference #3 & 4 above.  I think if they doubled pay I think more new guys would stick with it and some guys would stay with it longer -- i.e. $75 isnt worth it for 3 hours of this nonsense...but $150 would be worth it for 3 hours of nonsense.

Round here, we're paid at the end of the season - so round thanksgiving you get a pretty check to go spend for holidays - but conversely some guys want the instant pay.  Obviously that's local problems depending on how guys are paid.

All in all in my opinion, guys walk away primarily because dealing with nonsense on the sidelines just isnt worth the $75 (FL pay including travel). - or about $19.50/hr net of taxes.....

Last year, I tried to talk an old dog into coming out to ECO AND I could nearly guarantee only games about 10mi or less from his home.  He was not old, age 50, but just couldnt keep up with the game anymore (old legs).
Round these parts, for ECO including travel is $50.
His opinion: $50, after we take away taxes, etc. For a 3 hour game it came to $13/hr...I got turned down.
Certainly ECO is different from the field but in this case it was about money.



Offline js in sc

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2020, 02:44:50 PM »
I agree with #3 and 4 above.  Most of us would agree we do it for the love of the game and comradery with fellow officials.  Many of us would do it for free, except for the associated expenses and cost.  My own experiences from younger officials reinforces 3 and 4.  Many older officials have their heads in the clouds, or darker places, feeling they can deride or talk down to younger officials rather than be patient and teach.  They do not remember they also were new at one time.  When you have fans, coaches and even players talking down to you, it doesn't help when you turn to older officials who also talk down to you.  Who needs that?  Justifying that behavior because you were put through it when you were new won't work any more.  If we want to recruit and retain new officials, we need to treat them as equals and not like something you just stepped in.  Officiating, like life, is a continuous learning process and we need to support each other.  If you think you know it all, then it may be time to hang it up.  My health issues have made me give it up, but if I could I would still be out there and working with younger officials.  They make mistakes, but we work through them and teach.  Many I have worked with are now excellent officials.  We all have something to offer them in the form of calm, constructive comments instead of destructive criticisms.  Let's work with them as equals and encourage rather than degrade and send them packing.  :sTiR:

Offline Magician

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2020, 03:20:34 PM »
I think factors to not getting more new or younger guys or maintaining newer guys are several factors:
1-big upfront costs
2-the number of meetings in Spring, before and during the season - time commitment.
3-not enough training or willingness to train from old dogs
4-no perceived opportunity to work Friday in the near future (related to #3 or stubbornness of old dogs not wanting a new guy-- "I've had my same crew for x years."; good ole boy club)

Good factors, but these factors have existed for decades. And we haven't always had the shortage issue we do today. In our area #4 isn't applicable, because almost every first year official is working varsity games from week 1. We had a guy last year get inspired by watching week 1 of the NFL and contacted the IHSAA to take the exam. He worked his first varsity game 2 weeks later after having only worked 1 junior high game prior. So #4 definitely isn't an issue here.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2020, 05:38:47 PM »
I won’t waste our time by providing a complete summary, but I invite y’all to read the results of the comprehensive survey that NASO published last year.  Time, pay, and abuse were all among the top reasons for the shortage of officials.

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Athletic Business Today: Can Schools Afford Pay Increase for Officials?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2020, 08:31:58 AM »
I won’t waste our time by providing a complete summary, but I invite y’all to read the results of the comprehensive survey that NASO published last year.  Time, pay, and abuse were all among the top reasons for the shortage of officials.
Thanks, 'Bama, it seems that those 3 have been the negating factors for a long time. The chant of : "I'm blind, I'm deaf, I want to be a ref...." has been around for a long time, but with our high-tech evolution , times have changed. A "bad call" , in my daze of youth, may have been grumbled about in local handouts but today that "bad call" can be viewed by anyone interested before we make it home. Our skin thickens over time but, for the rookie, it may be a hard hurdle to overcome.

Over the years I've been asked many times : "Did you see that bad call ?" My response is always : "I saw it from the eyes of the camera , not from the eyes of the official. The same camera may have shown an open receiver, while the QB throws a pass into a crowd. We saw the open receiver through the camera's eyes, not the QB's . The game is played by humans and officiated by humans. LET'S LEAVE IT LIKE THAT !"  To the rookies I stress : "Be ready for the boos, they will come on close calls. They aren't booing you as a person, they are booing the ogre that made that close call  against their team. DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL !!". I'm sure  that many of you have a similar pep-talk and would enjoy hearing them.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 08:38:05 AM by Ralph Damren »