An Important Message to All LHSOA Officials

On January 31, 2020, at the LHSAA Annual Convention, a proposal that would have provided modest increases for our Basketball and Wrestling officials, and a modest, deferred increase for our Volleyball officials, along with a professionalism module for officials failed to get the necessary votes from the Louisiana Principals Association (PA).  We believe it is important to give you the background on this proposal so that you can fully comprehend the level of frustration and disappointment felt by your Executive Committee along with thoughts on how we move forward. 

The failed proposal was developed through a process that the PA specifically put in place at last year’s Annual Convention.  It was communicated that this process would provide for a fair and thoughtful approach to deal with issues of concerns to both principals and officials.  It is crucial that you understand that it was their process and we followed it in good faith, compromising where we felt appropriate, and trusting that the decisions from the process would be supported.  Our proposal had the full support of the Executive Director of the LHSAA and a significant number of members of the Executive Committee of the LHSAA; however, when the proposal came up for vote last week, a single principal, using inaccurate and inflammatory comments, likely swayed enough of his colleagues that the proposal fell just short of getting the needed votes to pass.  Two principals did speak in support of the proposal and we did receive more yes votes than any previous failed fee increase vote.  While we certainly appreciate the support of those who spoke and voted yes to officiating, it is extremely disappointing that the majority of principals did not vote in support of the proposal jointly developed by the LHSAA and LHSOA. 

Last year, at the Annual Convention, our proposal, which included a modest increase in just one sport along with enhanced security for officials, passed and we believed that the relationship with the PA had finally evolved to the point where our concerns would be given fair consideration.  We were wrong.

So how do we respond?  Just days after the failed vote, your Executive Committee communicated our disappointment, via certified mail, to the leadership of both the LHSAA and the PA.  We are now actively working on a new approach, an approach that provides for fair treatment of all officials in the state.  While we do not yet have details we can share, we can tell you that we will not be held hostage to the principals’ process any longer.   They have proven time and again that no matter how professional, how agreeable, or how flexible we may be, the majority consistently votes NO TO OFFICIALS.  Those that voted no do not recognize our efforts to improve, or that we are among the most tested and best trained officials in our region.  These are facts that should place our officials in the top tier of high school officials’ pay across all of our sports.  Instead, we languish below median regional pay in several sports and only slightly above median pay in all other sports. 

Finally, as we move forward to develop a new approach to the relationship with the PA, your support will be crucial.  Many of you are currently working toward playoffs in some sports and our spring sports are about to begin.  We previously committed to work through the 2019-2020 school year and we encourage everyone to continue to work hard over the next few months as we finish the sports seasons.  Looking forward to Fall 2020, it will be important that we stay strong as an association for our only opportunity to improve the future for high school officials in this state will come through unity in the strength of our commitment to each other.  We will update you as the details of our plan come together. 

We thank you for your efforts and the sacrifices you make for the student athletes in Louisiana!

Become an Official with the LHSOA

Join a growing group of professional high school officials in Louisiana and become part of the LHSOA. We are looking for enthusiastic men and women throughout Louisiana interested in officiating baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling. Many of our existing members officiate multiple sports. Perhaps you want to fill spare time doing something challenging and rewarding, or you want to earn some extra money, or maybe you aspire to the next level of officiating. The LHSOA and its many officiating associations in Louisiana can fill all those interests.

We invite you to fill out the form below to get more information about becoming an official, it’s YOUR CALL!

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LHSOA Leadership Announces 2019 Officials of the Year and Alexander Courage Award Winner

Steve Barbier
– Baseball Umpire of the Year

Demetric Brown – Basketball Official of the Year

Alton James – Football Official of the Year

Nick Chancey – Soccer Official of the Year

Roger Leonard – Softball Umpire of the Year

Ruthie Dugal – Volleyball Official of the Year

Marc Comeaux – Wrestling Official of the Year

Christine Gatte – 2019 Alexander Courage Award Recipient

The unfortunate cancellation of the 2019 LHSOA Summit resulted in us not being able to recognize all of the outstanding officials listed above but their effort, commitment and courage should not go unnoticed. The LHSOA leadership is developing plans to ensure that each of our winners is recognized in a local celebration and we ask that officials throughout the state reach out and congratulate our 2019 winners!