The Florida High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday morning it has a contingency plan if three football associations decide to strike this season and that it will increase pay for officials in all sports for the 2020-21 school year.
The Treasure Coast Officials Association in Martin County, South Gulf Officials Association which covers Lee County, LaBelle, Moore Haven and Port Charlotte, and East Coast (Palm Beach County) association do not have enough officials registered to officiate games this fall as they seek an immediate pay increase.
FHSAA spokesman Kyle Niblett said the FHSAA will announce the contingency plan if any of the three officials associations decide to strike.
“These associations serve a total of 71 FHSAA member schools,” FHSAA spokesman Kyle Niblett wrote in an email Wednesday. “In the state of Florida, we have 552 football teams fielding a team this fall. This means 87 percent of our schools have officials for this season. We believe in good faith the number will be 100 percent, but we have a plan in place shall the 71 schools not have enough available registered officials in those areas.
“There will be an increase in pay for ALL officials in the 2020-21 school year. This is something our staff has been advocating for. This is not a football-specific issue. This is an ALL SPORTS issue.”
John Mantica, president of the South Gulf officials, said the FHSAA’s announced pay raise for 2020-21 does not change his organization’s stance on this season. The Lee County football officials will not work this year without more money per game, Mantica said.
“Every year this comes up, and every year (the FHSAA) moves it to the next year,” Mantica said about an increase in officials’ game fees. “We’ve been talking about this for at least two years.