Local high school football officials in Lee County, Fla., have come to an agreement with the School District of Lee County that will end a work stoppage and allow the officials to work games this season.
Last week it was reported that a dispute over pay had led the South Gulf Football Officials Association to say they would refuse to work any games, leading to the cancelation of preseason football games.
However, the Fort Meyers News-Press reports that the standoff ended Friday afternoon, when it was announced that the officials would return to the field under the contract the SGFOA had signed in May. The Florida High School Athletic Association currently caps pay at $65 per official, though the SGFOA had reportedly sought an increase of $10 per game.
While the officials won’t actually receive additional money from the district, they will see a pay increase in the form of a $9,000 donation made to the SGFOA by a group of local business owners. The donation will amount to the increase the officials’ group had sought.
Earlier in the week, the Florida High School Athletic Association had revoked the group’s sanction, but restored it after the agreement was reached.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” SGFOA president John Mantica told the News-Press. “It’s a win for the players, the schools and the officials.”
The first regular season football games went on as scheduled.
While the situation seems to have blown over for the time being, Mantica told the News-Press that SGFOA members are seeking pay comparable to that offered to football officials in neighboring states: $100/game.
After officials from three counties in the state threatened work stoppages of their own, the FHSAA reportedly promised to provide a pay increase to all officials across all sports beginning in the 2020-21 school year.