Chapel Hill, N.C. — A raise for high school sports officials and referees was approved unanimously by the N.C. High School Athletic Association Board of Directors on Thursday morning during its regular winter meeting in Chapel Hill.
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, officials in all sports will receive a 10% raise rounded to the nearest dollar.
In addition, officials will no longer receive a reduced double-header rate for covering two games in a single location on the same day. Instead, officials will receive two single-game checks, resulting in a bigger paycheck. The new policy will also create a bi-annual schedule to review the compensation of officials.
The decision to increase officials pay comes at a critical time for the NCHSAA. The association, like the rest of the country, is facing a critical shortage of officials across the state. The shortage has caused games to be postponed and canceled, and in some instances schools have had to get creative with scheduling in order to get games in.
Over the summer, the NCHSAA formed an ad hoc committee charged with studying the shortage of officials and the struggles with recruiting and retaining new officials. The committee conducted a survey of all officials across all sports in North Carolina and found more than half considered quitting over the last two years, citing sportsmanship and compensation as their top concerns.
Steve Schwartz, the chair of the ad hoc committee, told the board of directors on Wednesday that over 800 basketball officials statewide are considering walking off the job in January. The basketball officials want an increase in pay, but the 10% increase the board passed falls short of what the basketball officials were requesting.
According to communications obtained by HighSchoolOT this week, the basketball officials wanted the following fee increases:
It is not clear if the steps taken by the NCHSAA will be enough to avoid a walkout of officials in January. HighSchoolOT has learned a virtual meeting of basketball officials is scheduled for later this month.
The ad hoc committee has also asked the NCHSAA to involve officials in decision-making in a more direct way. The committee requested a standing committee be created to help continuously address issues around officiating in high school sports, and it also would like to see a position created within the NCHSAA to work with officials on recruitment and retention.
Although the ad hoc committee did not request officials have a voting seat on the board of directors, the NCHSAA Officiating & Review Committee pointed out that the officials do have a non-voting representative on the board. However, if schools desire officials have a voting position on the board, a bylaws amendment proposal must be passed by the full membership.
The NCHSAA has also signaled that an emphasis on sportsmanship will be a key moving forward as it continues to work on the shortage of officials.
Alden Gonzalez, ESPN Staff WriterJun 1, 2023, 08:06 PM ETCloseESPN baseball reporter. Covered the L.A. Rams for ESPN from 2016 to 2018 and the L.A. Angels for M
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