By: Kylan Watson, Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) —
The start of the fall high school sports season is less than three weeks away in Central New York. However, there is an ongoing contract dispute which could delay it. Section III Athletics and the New York State Certified Football Officials Association (NYSCFO) have been engaged in a contract dispute for almost three years, over a pay increase.
“There is no contract. The contract expired about a year ago and we have been negotiating in good faith with Section III for going on close to two year,” said Bob Antonacci, Onondaga County comptroller and lead negotiator for NYSCFO. “Section III declared impasse and brought us into a long arbitration hearing.”
Nine sports will be affected by this dispute including: football, cheerleading, volleyball, track and field, field hockey, and basketball.
A spokesperson for the Syracuse City School District released this statement about the dispute:
“We hope that the contract situation can be resolved. Our officials are an important piece of the game and it is important that they are ready to go for the first week of the season. It would be unfair to the student athletes if they were to suffer because the adults could not come to a reasonable solution.”
John Rathbun Executive Director of Section III said that they have offered the referees modest pay increases per contract. According to both sides there is room to negotiate but the process is now out of their hands.
The two sides are currently in arbitration. Both sides will have to wait to the end of the season to get a decision on the case.