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Who’s your referee?

I don’t follow high school sports at all, but this Chron story about a battle between the University Interscholastic League (UIL) and the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO), about who has control over the officials at high school athletic events, was fascinating to me. I don’t have any points to make about the story, which I recommend you read, but I am curious about something. I find that it’s rare for a big change like this to take place without some kind of precipitating event, but the story doesn’t go into that. So does anyone who does follow high school sports know, was this something that was a long time coming and the stars finally lined up, was it the result of some controversy or scandal (I doubt that, as surely that would have been mentioned in the article), or was it really about money, as one of the TASO officials claims? Leave a comment and let me know.

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One Comment

  1. Tim Glandville says:

    The event that precipitated this is UIL wants to feed itself more money. In the article you will find the answer: 15,000 officials X $50 registration fee each = $750,000. The employees of UIL will give themselves pay raises with the money they generate from registering officials. Did you know that UIL takes 15% of the gross gate monies from all playoff contests? Not long ago, the two best teams in a district went to playoffs. UIL has steadily increased the number of teams that go to playoffs; it has gotten so bad that in football, teams with a losing district record often make the playoffs. If a team is the 3rd or 4th best team in 6 or 7 team district, do you really think it has a shot at winning the state championship? More playoff teams = more playoff games = more times UIL gets to take 15% of the gate proceeds. Did you know that UIL is not a state organization but a private organization? UIL is a hungry beast that needs to feed itself to stay alive since it is a private company that is structured like a government bureaucracy. TASO on the other hand is run mostly by its members volunteering time to be in positions of authority and service for the organization; it’s a true old fashioned trade workers organization. With so much of the load being done by volunteers, it has no need to feed itself to stay alive like UIL does. TASO officials earn money by providing an actual service on the court and in the fields; UIL makes its money by sucking funds off the top of other people’s money. Schools pay UIL so that at the end of each season, one team will have a trophy that says UIL on it. Most of the dues paid by officials to TASO go to train officials, but much of dues UIL will charge officials will go raise UIL workers’ salaries. UIL will provide less insurance coverage for officials than TASO and there is no way it can provide better training than TASO because UIL has to pay wages to its bureaucracy. The only promise UIL can really deliver is a system UIL calls “increased accountability for officials” which goes like this: if an official ejects a coach and somewhere in the game the official made a mistake, the official will get in trouble and face suspension; until robots are officiating sports, mistakes will be made. Yes, the only advantage UIL offers if it takes over officials is a method for disgruntled coaches to get revenge on officials. Under UIL, officials will have less training or higher registration fees or both, lower liability insurance and lawsuit protection, and in return schools will have lower quality officials and officials will have a bureaucracy of overpaid underworked UIL staff lording over them. What if you were a teacher and some organization took over and as a result your teachers’ union would be dissolved, you would not be in position to collectively bargain for wages and conditions, your training would be reduced, people that were angry with you would be able to get you suspended for doing your job, and your insurance coverage would be cut by 400%? The experienced teachers would retire, the good teachers would find a different line of work, and the resulting void would be filled by people that are less experienced, less qualified, less intelligent, less concerned, and less motivated. I don’t remember anywhere in my studies thinking that a teacher was too good; I am sure you will never hear a coach say, “Geez, these officials are too good today. I wish we could have had some lower quality officials.” Clearly UIL is trying to take over officials because it sees officials as an additional revenue source. Here’s Tom with the 7 day weather forecast.