AHSAA provides statement on contract dispute with umpires

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 2:03 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s has released a statement regarding the current contract dispute with the South Alabama Baseball Umpires Association.

The statement comes from Executive Director of the AHSAA Alvin Briggs.

The AHSAA appreciates its contest officials in all sports and works diligently to keep AHSAA fees comparable to other Section 3 State Associations while weighing the impact increased fees might have on our member schools and the sports they can offer for their student-athletes.

In November, a group of baseball officials met with AHSAA staff to voice their concerns regarding expenses they (officials) accrue in comparison to the pay schedule they receive for umpiring high school baseball games. After much discussion, the AHSAA staff agreed to present the officials’ concerns to the Central Board of Control (CBOC) at their next scheduled meeting.

Alvin Briggs, AHSAA Executive Director, asked AHSAA Director of Officials Ken Washington to research baseball officials’ pay scales from other state associations and to present his findings and the possibility of pay raises for all AHSAA sport officials to the Board in January. After hearing the officials’ concerns, the CBOC agreed to form a committee consisting of board members and contest officials from all sports to study officials’ fees and make any recommendations needed at the next Board meeting in April. Central Board members on the committee include three who have served as contest officials or are still serving as officials. Because schools preset budgets at the beginning of the school year and because the AHSAA operates around a June 1 to May 31 school year, if the Board approves a proposal to increase officials’ fee schedules at the April meeting, the adjusted fees would go into effect with the next school year.

Officiating fees should be agreed upon in negotiations between the local officials’ association and the school. However, any and all agreed-upon fees must be within the maximum amount the schools are allowed to pay according to the AHSAA Maximum Fee Schedule (fees for each sport may be found in the current AHSAA Sports Book, which is set by the CBOC). Any school that agrees to fees in excess of the maximum schedule will be in violation of AHSAA bylaws and may be subject to fines, probation (including restrictive probation), and/or suspension from the AHSAA. The fee schedule is set in the interest of fair play for all schools.

Local associations are not permitted to exceed the approved rate set by the Central Board. Furthermore, as outlined on the AHSAA website under Officials’ Requirements and Associations’ Information and Affiliation Minimum Standards, you may find:

5. The association must not adopt any rules or regulations that conflict with the rules and regulations of the AHSAA.

Hereafter, any association found to be in violation of the aforementioned policy is subject to suspension from the AHSAA.

The AHSAA respects the concerns presented by our contest officials and is working through the process to determine appropriate action to address those concerns and the concerns of its member schools. We greatly appreciate our contest officials who are continuing to officiate while we work through this process keeping the best interest of our student-athletes as the top priority. AHSAA baseball officials and all other sports’ officials received their last pay increase in the 2019-20 school year. That increase from $60 to $80 for regular-season varsity games for member schools increased the pay scale by 25% per game. For junior varsity contests, the fees increased by 30.7% and for middle and junior high games, the increase was 27.3%. Furthermore, fees increased even more for the state playoffs – from $65 per official for the first four rounds to $95 for round one (31.6%); $105 for round two (42.9%); $115 for round three (43.5%); $125 for round four (48.0%); and for the state championship series, the fee increased by 100% going from $70 per official to $140 for three-man crews, and from $50 to $100, also 100%, for six-man crews.

The mileage fee structure also changed in 2019-2020 from $8 per game per official regardless of distance to $25 per official for travel of 61 to 120 miles; $50 for travel from 121 – 180 miles; and $75 for travel over 180 miles. There is no mileage fee added for travel less than 60 miles.

Alvin Briggs, Executive Director of the AHSAA


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