The scheduled start of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association football season is less than a month away with the fall practices scheduled the first week of August. But the question seemingly hanging over the entire state and some of the most passionate football fans you can find anywhere is, will there be a season at all?
The LHSAA and its officials association continue to go with no contract agreement that would see the officials get a pay raise they seek. Face-to-face negotiations in June ended with both sides at a stalemate and not feeling even close to a deal being struck. There has not been much movement since that time.
A report by WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge recently quoted officials that no association outside of Lake Charles would agree to do games without a pay raise. Those same sources said the current rate is less than $5 per hour in many cases for officiating a game.
The NFL recently went through a similar situation, but went on through most of the year with replacement officials. That does not seem to be an option for the LHSAA at this point. The certified officials they have is the only pool they can pull from right now.
So the season hangs in the balance. The 7-on-7 tournaments and weight lifting has gone on schedule. The negotiations in Baton Rouge have not.
The waiting game continues for Louisiana’s favorite pastime.