KINGS/TULARE COUNTY, California (KSEE) – High schools in Kings and Tulare counties are asking people to fill in for their contracted umpires who have asked for higher pay rates.
About 25 to 35 schools are affected– so far no games have had to be rescheduled but if the schools can’t find replacements in the future there might have to be.
“Is there a possibility there that we may not get games? Yes,” said CIR Central Commissioner Jim Crichlow. “Is there the possibility there that they can be rescheduled? Yes.”
Crichlow, who oversees athletic events in the area said each year the schools work with the independent contractors Central Valley Officiating Association.
“We have been working with these guys for 18 years,” said Crichlow.
According to the CIR Commissioner, the umps were fed up with the current pay of $71 a game for the plate umpire and $57 a game for the base umpire.
“Everybody understands that umps don’t make the money they should,” said Crichlow.
The officials want the state average rate, $87 for the plate umpire and $58 for the base umpire.
The problem is the schools would have to fund the difference.
“It doesn’t sound like much but $16 at the varsity level, $16 at the JV level,” said Crichlow. “That is $32. You play 10 to 12 games at home that’s $340. Again, doesn’t sound like much but at the end of the year, it does when you don’t have any income coming in.”
Fresno and Bakersfield officiators have stepped up the plate to cover the vacated positions but there still is the risk going forward that games could get canceled if replacements aren’t found.
Schools ask anyone who is willing to volunteer to reach out to them directly.