LHSAA assistant executive director Keith Alexander doesn’t normally seek out the media in order to make a point.
After LHSAA principals failed to approve pay raises for officials in basketball and volleyball and voted to cut the pay baseball and softball umpires receive on weather-delayed games, Alexander, who oversees officiating for the LHSAA, was not happy.
“I thought it was worth proposing pay raises for those other sports, and I knew there were no guarantees,” Alexander said. “This thing with the umpires. … I’m disappointed in the outcome.
“There are so many umpires around the state who take off from work to get to ballgames. They have other jobs. What I’m afraid is going to happen is they just won’t accept any 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. games if the weather forecast calls for rain.
“You were paying them half a game fee for something that was out of their control. And now you’re taking that away … I’ve got a real problem with that.”
The vote on the proposals related to officials was a smaller portion of the news from the final day of the LHSAA’s annual convention held Friday at the Crowne Plaza.
Things started out on a promising note when principals voted to approve the use of qualified out-of-state wrestling officials to compensate for a shortage of Louisiana wrestling officials.
Then the vote on a pay raise for basketball officials failed by a 140-89 margin, followed by a 135-110 thumbs down vote on a raise for volleyball officials. In both instances, it was noted that Louisiana’s pay scale for basketball/volleyball officials ranked at or just above the lowest in the nation.
Next, a proposal by Riverdale’s Denise Carpenter changed the pay rate for baseball/softball umpires who travel to a game site only to have the field ruled unplayable by the head coach of the home team.
Previously, umpires got half of their pay rate for a game plus mileage. Now after the 185-73 vote, umpires will receive only the mileage pay in field conditions delays.
Other notable items involving playoff home games/seeding also were passed. In softball, the proposal to make the higher seeded team the home team in the second round of the playoffs was approved, effective immediately.
Also approved was a proposal that will make the higher seeded team the home team for semifinal round competitions when games are played on a home/away basis in the sports of football and soccer.
A soccer “mercy rule” was approved by a 214-26 margin. The rule states once a team scores eight goals in the first or second half the game is terminated.