They are supposed to be invisible. If they do their job you don't even know they are there. If you they become part of the story of the contest then it's been a bad game for them. They are the officials.

The loveable evil that every sporting contest needs to have to keep the field of play level. There is a chance that these stewards of the game and keepers of the rulebook will not be on the court or on the field when the new high school sports season starts this fall.

The primary issue is money, but that's not the entire story. Let's look at the pay breakdown for a high school official that might be on a field in South Louisiana on a Friday night.

According to one local official we spoke to it breaks down like this. A registered official in football will earn $60 per game plus travel expenses. If that official is approved he gets $70 to officiate the contest. If he is a certified official the pay goes to $85. These figures are based on a regular season game.

Paul LaRosa is President of the Louisiana High School Officials Association, his group has called an executive committee  meeting for Sunday afternoon to discuss money and other things. According to a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network, money is the biggest issue but it's not the only issue.

Principals have absolute control over officials and officials have no say that's the problem and that's what we are trying to fix.

Among the items LaRosa wants to see addressed in addition to pay is conditions at the field, security at the stadiums, and they want signed contracts in place that guarantee  these things.

Eddie Bonine is the Executive Director of the LHSAA the totalitarian hierarchy of high school sports. He says that legally schools cannot enter into contracts with officials. That must be done via superintendents and principals which are the people that make up his association.

Bonine is asking for more time to discuss the matter.  He does plan on attending the meeting with the LHSOA executive committee on Sunday in hopes of working out a compromise until his organization has their annual meeting in January.

Let us hope that Mr. Bonine and Mr. LaRosa and their respective groups can cut through the red tape and do what is best for the students involve. The officials are suggesting that if an agreement can't be reached they are prepared to be no shows for the upcoming high school football and volleyball seasons. The LHSAA says they can't act until they meet in  January.

Here is an idea the LHSAA might consider, they have these things called computers and telephones where people can attend virtual meetings. Hey Eddie, if you click the link they are even offering a free trial.  It wouldn't involve travel, hotels, or expensive dinners and you could let the officials know that you are either with them or not instead of hiding behind a meeting date in January.