Ump strike averted, baseball season to proceed as planned

The high school baseball season will proceed as planned. After the UIL mandated what amounted to a pay cut for East Texas officials this season, the umps decided they didn't want that. When the UIL didn't want to talk at all, the umps got together and made one more offer to baseball coaches to try and save the season.

Wednesday night, their compromise proposal was accepted. President Dwight Thomas says the lack of ticket sales to games works against baseball umpires.

"The game fee for all three major sports is about $45 a game," Thomas explained. In football, they receive (a cut of the) gate. In basketball, the receive a gate, or they're supposed to. However, a basketball game lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. A baseball game last two and a half hours, and there's never a gate that we're paid.

"This all came about late December, this really doesn't give the schools a chance to do anything. We decided we just need to call the games and do a good job, and let the superintendents battle for us next year with the UIL, and get the game fee where it needs to be."

In addition, Thomas released the following statement.

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The Tyler Chapter of TASO Baseball Umpires has agreed to officiate baseball games for the spring season using the UIL’s pay scale.  The decision was not made in haste or without a great deal of discussion.  The umpire chapters around the state have been in a quarrel with the UIL for the past couple of months.  This year the UIL has mandated that all schools follow the pay scale outlined in section 1204 of their contest rules manual even though umpire chapters and their schools have always been able to agree on pay scales that best suites their needs.  By following section 1204 umpires in many areas of the state will take a pay cut from what they have been paid the past few years.
 
The weakness of the current UIL’s pay scale is it is a “one-size fits all” plan, attempting to compensate officials across all sports, football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, etc.  The original intent was that officials’ fees would increase proportionately with their level of experience, as measured by the increasing gross gate receipts for each game.  Most schools do not take a gate at baseball games and the ones that do never pay the increased game fee that is outlined by 1204.  Section 1204 works in football and basketball because those sports collect a gate at each game and football referees many times are paid a portion of the gross gate receipts.  Basketball referees seldom see the additional money that they are owed by 1204 guidelines, but a typical basketball game generally only lasts about 1 hour and 15 to an hour and 30 minutes.  Baseball games are generally 2 to 2 ½ hours long so the base pay of $45 per game is not adequate for baseball.  The only way that the UIL can provide umpires with a sufficient or adequate pay scale is to abolish the current one size fits all pay scale, and implement a more meaningful plan based on how the different sports operate.  Some of the factors that the UIL should consider when creating a fair umpire’s pay scale are the initial expense required to become an umpire ($500-$700) and the length of the contests compared to that of officials of other sports. 
 
Tyler’s chapter of TASO umpires understand their disagreement is with the UIL and do not want to have area high school baseball games officiated by untrained volunteers or lesser qualified umpires which could negatively impact the fairness of the contests.  We have chosen to cover the games to show the schools and their leadership that we are there to serve them and hope that when the season is over those same school leaders will support us in pay scale discussions with the UIL.  Section 1204 is a bad rule and needs to be changed before the start of the 2009-2010 school year.
 
Dwight Thomas
Tyler Chapter of TASO - Baseball Umpires

The Tyler Chapter of TASO Baseball Umpires has agreed to officiate baseball games for the spring season using the UIL’s pay scale.  The decision was not made in haste or without a great deal of discussion.  The umpire chapters around the state have been in a quarrel with the UIL for the past couple of months.  This year the UIL has mandated that all schools follow the pay scale outlined in section 1204 of their contest rules manual even though umpire chapters and their schools have always been able to agree on pay scales that best suites their needs.  By following section 1204 umpires in many areas of the state will take a pay cut from what they have been paid the past few years.

The weakness of the current UIL’s pay scale is it is a “one-size fits all” plan, attempting to compensate officials across all sports, football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, etc.  The original intent was that officials’ fees would increase proportionately with their level of experience, as measured by the increasing gross gate receipts for each game.  Most schools do not take a gate at baseball games and the ones that do never pay the increased game fee that is outlined by 1204.  Section 1204 works in football and basketball because those sports collect a gate at each game and football referees many times are paid a portion of the gross gate receipts.  Basketball referees seldom see the additional money that they are owed by 1204 guidelines, but a typical basketball game generally only lasts about 1 hour and 15 to an hour and 30 minutes.  Baseball games are generally 2 to 2 ½ hours long so the base pay of $45 per game is not adequate for baseball.  The only way that the UIL can provide umpires with a sufficient or adequate pay scale is to abolish the current one size fits all pay scale, and implement a more meaningful plan based on how the different sports operate.  Some of the factors that the UIL should consider when creating a fair umpire’s pay scale are the initial expense required to become an umpire ($500-$700) and the length of the contests compared to that of officials of other sports. 

Tyler’s chapter of TASO umpires understand their disagreement is with the UIL and do not want to have area high school baseball games officiated by untrained volunteers or lesser qualified umpires which could negatively impact the fairness of the contests.  We have chosen to cover the games to show the schools and their leadership that we are there to serve them and hope that when the season is over those same school leaders will support us in pay scale discussions with the UIL.  Section 1204 is a bad rule and needs to be changed before the start of the 2009-2010 school year.

Dwight Thomas

Tyler Chapter of TASO - Baseball Umpires

Reid Kerr can be reached at rkerr@kltv.com.