Referee work stoppage affects basketball games throughout Louisiana

Staff reports

High school basketball games across Louisiana were postponed after a protest by the sport’s officials.

A work stoppage over pay raises for referees caused some 70 high school gyms to remain empty this week, but most officials are expected to return to the court after a meeting with the state’s athletic sanctioning body.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s executive committee held an emergency meeting Wednesday with representatives from the 14 regional officials associations from across the state.

A special meeting was called for June 3 for all association principals. LHSAA principals would be asked to vote again on proposed pay raises set to be implemented in the 2011-12 season for seven sports, including basketball.

The pay raise proposals that failed at last week’s LHSAA convention will be reviewed.

Officials are paid between $68 and $74 per game, depending on certification. The payscale remains the same regardless of school size. Officials have stated their rate ranks last in the United States.

In a press release issued Monday, the LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson stated the organization’s hopes of a quick solution to the matter.

 “LHSAA rules and regulations regarding who can and who cannot officiate a ball game will remain in place and only those schools that can secure a properly certified official can play the games,” Henderson said. “If a tentative agreement can be worked out, then we will allow those games to be made up at a later date by LHSAA sanctioned officials.

As many as one-fourth of the basketball games set for Tuesday were not played, including all but one game scheduled in the Baton Rouge area. Games in the Monroe, Shreveport and Alexandria areas were also called off. In the New Orleans area, several games used two-person crews.

Another meeting is scheduled for Baton Rouge on March 16 between the officials associations and the LHSAA Executive Committee. At this time, final documents are expected to be finalized on a new pay raise proposal.