Referee sit-out forces cancellation of prep games

Staff reports

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association is working to resolve a pay dispute with officials that forced cancellation of all high school sporting events statewide, as of Monday.

The sit-out came after principals voted down a payhike requested by officials at the annual convention last week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Only a contest between Denham Springs and Zachary remained on the slate as of Monday because the schools opted to use independent officials.

An emergency meeting of principals and the LHSAA was set for Wednesday.

The raises would have affected football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and wrestling.

Officials are paid between $68 and $74 per game, depending on certification. The payscale remains the same regardless of the size of the school.

In a press release issued Monday, the LHSAA also stated its hopes of a quick solution to the matter.

 “LHSAA rules and regulations regarding who 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,” said LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson. “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.”

The LHSAA stated that it remains adamant that the main focus and reason behind an immediate solution to the current situation should be the student-athletes who will be adversely affected by this predicament.