Louisiana referees remain among the lowest paid in the country over the past two decades. As a result, local football officials voted on Monday not to work the first Friday of the season.
The Lafayette Area Football Officials Association is now the sixth group to make that decision.
The Louisiana High School Officials Association is asking for a five and a half percent pay raise that would align them with the lowest paid state in the southeast region.
Daniel Gautreaux, a football representative for the LHSOA executive committee says in the past 25 years officials have received just two pay increases.”I think it speaks to the fact that officials have felt mistreated and a lack of respect for a number of years and this gives us the opportunity to kind of voice that. obviously officials are like coaches and players they love to be a part of the game of football and it’s our hope and it’s the officials in that rooms hope that we can work week one and everyone can enjoy football like everyone loves to do in south Louisiana.”
Greg Gautreaux, Assignment Secretary for local football officiating says the LHSOA has a history of being let down by the LHSAA Principals Association. “Officials were promised certain increases. After the first increase there were requirements made for the officials that they needed to do A B C D and soforth and officials have done that they’ve been through that process but nothing else has stepped to and every year it’s been tabled and tabled.”
The cost of officiating in Louisiana has increased by 73% since 1991. The LHSOA is asking for wages that can keep up, but Daniel and Greg say it’s not just about the money.
Any action taken by the LHSAA needs approval of the school principals when they meet later this year. News 10 has spoken with some officials who believe the principals will approve a referee raise which is one way to avoid a complete referee work stoppage.