Updated: November 20, 2019 08:48 PM
Created: November 20, 2019 07:25 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — High school coaches and athletic directors expressed hope Wednesday that a proposed deal with the region's referees could end a work stoppage that jeopardized the start of this fall's basketball season.
Peter Mancuso, athletic Director at Harley Allendale Columbia, which was scheduled to play Lyons Senior High School in Lyons Friday night in the season's first game, admitted he was a little uneasy. The first game in danger of being canceled for lack of any referees.
"I mean, you got a lot of kids who look forward to basketball every year,” Mancuso said. “For them to think that their season might be interrupted or delayed, it's frustrating for them and, as someone who directs kids and is in it for the kids, it's tough."
With the season about to start, Section V coaches, athletic directors and executive directors came together Wednesday looking for a compromise in their contract dispute with the Rochester District Basketball Officials' Board 60.
Board 60 referees cannot strike but they have been staging an effective work stoppage, ignoring or turning down requests for refs for upcoming games.
"It's clear at this point that games are in jeopardy because there are no officials available or willing to officiate the games," Kathy Hoyt, Section V Executive Director said..
Board 60's dispute revolves around issues like compensation for the mileage officials travel to referee at games, particularly at more remote locations among the seven leagues served by Board 60, a sore point since Section V stopped offering compensation for mileage and started giving flat fees instead.
"We cover a nine-county area as Board 60," Board 60 President Dale Trott said. "We go as far as Dundee, Romulus, South Seneca and, to the west, Lyndonville. We have a huge territory and, when we lost mileage, we lost a big factor for the time that our officials spend in the car traveling."
The key sticking point became who assigns which refs officiate over games. The board is demanding a bigger role, rather than the current selection process which is handled by Section V.
"We felt the process led to bias and it wasn't an impartial system," Trott said.
On Wednesday afternoon, members of Section V approved a compromise, a committee, with some members to be named by Section V and some to be named by Board 60 to pick refs for games. Leaders of Board 60 said it sounded promising as a way to get its refs back in their stripes and out on the court.
"The large majority of them are in the game because they love the game of basketball and wanted to get back and want to be involved with the game and do something for the kids," Trott said.
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