Editor’s Note: A portion of this story appeared in Wednesday’s edition but was cut off before the ending.
The TSSAA negotiated a fee reduction for its school members with basketball referees recently. In dollar terms, basketball referees at high school games will be taking a $25 pay cut for officiating a doubleheader, a girls and boys game. This was a response to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 70 to limit crowd size at school athletic events.
There were some requests from Tennessee schools to the TSSAA about reducing referees from three to two per game to save money. After some discussions and negotiations, the TSSAA decided to stay with three referees.
The old rate was $105 per official for three officials for a doubleheader, girls and boys games. For two referees, the old rate was $115 each. The new rate is $80 for a doubleheader for three officials.
Matthew Gillespie, the assistant executive director of the TSSAA, explained the changes recently in an email.
Gillespie wrote, “It was somewhat of a compromise after getting requests from a lot of the membership to go to only two referees, then discussing (it) with basketball supervisors. This way it helps schools financially, but still allows three referees to work games, albeit at a reduced rate. Only for remainder of regular season. Depending on status of the current executive order and restrictions regarding COVID, the reduced rate could be lifted sooner than that. Yet to be seen.”
Therefore, the reduced pay could be temporary. Referee pay will not be reduced for tournaments taking place after the regular season.
Many Americans have lost jobs or been forced to work less hours and receive less income. The Wall Street Journal recently stated, “Employers cut 140,000 jobs last month (December), the first decline since the pandemic hit the country last spring, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate held steady at 6.7%, far below its April peak of 14.8% — a post-World War II high — but still almost twice its pre-pandemic level.
The unidentified referees at the Warren County home game against DeKalb agreed to have their photograph taken. According to the TSSAA these three referees were making $105 each for their night’s work. Presently, they would be making $80 if the game was this week.
The other night in Smithville at the DeKalb County High School gym, the referees officiating the game with Warren County refused to speak on the record about the pay cut. Yet, they did mention that DeKalb County was paying them the full amount, $105.