Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Referees Throw Temper Tantrum

Our basketball referees are on strike. It seems that the LSHAA turned down a pay raise for them, so they got pissed off and are conducting a work stoppage, at least in four districts across Louisiana. Alexandria is a part of one striking district.

Louisiana basketball refs are the lowest paid in the nation. They knew that when they took the job. Rather than agitate for higher pay before the season, they waited until late in the season to make an issue of it.

Do the ref's deserve better pay? Let me submit the facts to a candid world and you make make the decision. Referees generally work three games per night, and they're paid $31.00 per game, with a small travel stipend. So, a referee at a high school basketball game can expect to be paid $93.00 for a night's work. They want to increase the salary to $40.00 per game, for a grand total of $120.00 per night. Whoopee. I can certainly understand the rationale for more money. Hell, I'd like to make more money.

However, the referees are just one part of a game. To conduct a successful high school basketball game, you need two teams, the coaching staffs, duty school personnel to work the doors, a janitor on hand to clean up spills. You also need personnel to run the concession stand and generally there are police officers there to keep the peace. We need the fans, who pay for the tickets, we need the fans most of all. Without the fans, we can't do any of this, because basketball has to pay its own way.

The referees don't have any responsibility but the conduct of the game. That's it. They show up for the first game, and leave immediately after the last game. At the schools I'm familiar with, a ref gets to the school at about 5:00 and leaves before 9:00. Less than four hours and they're the first ones out of the door. This is part-time work for them and we're glad to see them go.

We thought that we could get referees from other parts of the state to work scheduled game, so that EVERYONE ELSE wouldn't have to adjust their schedules. No, we've got to use these refs or none at all, so we're having to re-adjust everything to cater to the whims of the spoiled referees. It seems that they don't care about the kids, the schools, the pending playoffs, they don't care about anything but their paychecks. They've shown their true colors and deserve to be treated with the contempt they've shown for the rest of us.

The referees in the Alexandria Officials Association are acting like spoiled brats. We should disband the whole organization and start over with folks who care about more than a paycheck.


J said...

Good luck finding new and GOOD and HONEST refs who'll ref for $93 a night. $120 a night sounds low to me. Sorry.

Pawpaw said...

You don't need to be sorry, Junior. I'm the one that's sorry. You see, at $120.00 per ref, that's $360.00 cost to the program. At $5.00 per ticket, the school has to sell 72 tickets before they can start to break even. Lots of small schools don't have 72 fans that buy tickets for basketball games, so the program loses money on every game.

I was talking to some coaches today and of all the schools in Rapides Parish, only three of them are able to break even on basketball. With the budget crunch that's coming, the cuts have to be made somewhere, and programs that don't pay for themselves are liable to feel the ax.

Feel sorry for the kids and the programs. They're the ones that's going to lose when the programs are cut because the schools can't afford it.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget; for every dollar we spend on boys sports, we need to spend another dollar on girls sports, even if there are no girl athletes signing up for them.

Government spending is like beer. It all goes down the toilet eventually.

Old NFO said...

Sad... and you are correct, the kids are the ones who will truly suffer...

J said...

In my humble opinion, if the basketball program doesn't pay for itself, then close it. Another option is to fire one referee. Two refs are plenty, especially during hard times. Face a fact. In case someone brings it up, the taxpayers won't want to pay the referees.

Anonymous said...

If your saying thats plenty of money for what officials do,, you are sadly mistaken. What you do not se is alot of refs spending hundreads of dollars in the summer for camps to get better. Also, uniforms and meetings that they are not paid for.. Alot go the entire season and do not break even either. Its not just a "5-9" job like you are claiming pawpaw. Why dont you put on the stripes since you know so much and try to hang?

Pawpaw said...

"If your saying thats plenty of money for what officials do,, you are sadly mistaken"

I never said that. I said that the market couldn't stand it. There's a huge difference. I don't begrudge those guys a raise, I begrudge the way they went about it.

"Why dont you put on the stripes since you know so much and try to hang?"

Oh, there are a couple of reasons. First, I don't like basketball. Think the sport is idiotic, played mostly by idiots who don't want to work. Second, it would cut into my free time. Third, there isn't any money in it.

There's lots of stuff that I do for free, but I don't complain about the money.