Central Coast umpire pay dispute may impact prep baseball games

February 13, 2023


Central Coast baseball umpires and high school officials are engaged in a pay dispute that could result in teams primarily playing games on Saturdays this spring in order to accommodate out-of-area crews. [Tribune]

On Friday, contentious talks broke down between local umpires belonging to the Los Padres Baseball Umpire Association (LPBUA) and the Central Coast Athletic Association (CCAA). The CCAA consists of 16 high schools across San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County.

The CCAA has offered the umpires a rate of $92 per game, plus additional money for mileage, for the high school baseball season that is scheduled to start later this month. The LPBUA rejected the offer and is demanding a pay increase for its umpires to $105 per game this season and rising to $125 over the course of three years. 

CCAA representatives say the California Interscholastic Federation sets the pay rates for umpires, and the LPBUA is asking for compensation outside of the federation’s pay scale. Giving the LPBUA the pay raise it is seeking would set a precedent and have statewide implications for school sports officiating groups. 

Umpires in the federation’s central section and southern section already receive the highest pay rate in California, the CCAA says. Local schools formerly belonged to the federation’s southern section and currently are part of the central section.

An LPBUA representative said umpires can make significantly more money calling junior college and youth baseball games. LPBUA membership has declined from about 60 umpires to 40 over the last several years.

With no pay agreement in place and the high school baseball season about to start, the CCAA is now working with umpires from Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin and Santa Cruz counties. To accommodate the out-of-area umpires, schools are now moving forward with a backup plan of playing most baseball games on Saturdays, rather than weekdays, when they typically take place. 

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Fighting over $13 the price of everything has gone up a lot more than that won’t even cover the the gas to get to the game. Insane is when the working person gets a little raise that is eaten up by inflation and Government always gets a huge raise eaten up by their stupid spending

Sorry to be the voice of disagreement, but….. Here are some more facts that are left out of the article.

There are more umpires that are willing to work for the already agreed upon pay rate than not, but the assigner for the games has threatened to blackball any umpire that chooses to cross the line and work for the already negotiated price for this years baseball season. Work this season for the agreed upon rate. If you’re in it for the kids, then negotiate when it’s appropriate.

Games are 7 innings and take just over 2 hours, which works out to approximately 40 dollars an hour, plus the mileage stipend can easily put the pay rate over the requested 105 per game. 4-5 games a week for 3.5 months works out to a nice little (5-6K) side hustle. To put that in perspective, a coaches stipend is roughly 2000-2500 for 5 months of work every weekday for 2+ hours, plus all the other stuff to deal with. (parents, equipment, field work, administration demands) Pencil that out and see who is in it for the love of the game.

“Umpires in the federation’s central section and southern section already receive the highest pay rate in California”

And are demanding to be the highest paid umpires in the nation.

Trust me when I say they aren’t that good at what they do.

So games will be played on Saturdays, and will end up costing schools (ahem, your tax dollars) even more in travel costs that it would to just pay the rate, which is awful!

But remember this post when the football refs, soccer refs, and basketball refs decide they’re worth more than they have agreed upon as well.

PS- Hit me up if you’re interested in being an umpire.

I’ve sat through countless baseball, football, softball and soccer games in Paso. The umps and refs were never rude or mouthy but MANY parents were, some coaches too.

The small increase that’s being requested is absolutely reasonable and for all of the BS they put up with, they definitely deserve a pay raise.

I couldn’t agree with you more about parents and coaches from first-hand experiences. I’ll also add that umpires and refs pay for their assigner, insurance fee, and possibly union dues on top of uniforms, gear, shoes, and gas (mileage does not adequately cover that cost), and oftentimes they leave work early to be at games. And as someone noted, an umpire won’t work every game so the amount each ump earns will vary. I agree that most do it for the kids and thank you! So let’s make sure their expenses are covered.

Whoops, I forgot to add the amount of training that goes into being an ump and ref. Countless hours learning the rules and working with their fellow umpires – this is not paid, but they do it for the kids.

If all 40 umpires work every game at $92 per game it’s $3,680 compared to all 40 working every game at $105 whcih amounts to $4200. It’s unlikely all 40 empires work every game and even if they do its only an additional $520 pay raise for 40 people combined per game. Compare that to the board of supervisors bringing up a vote to give themselves a pay raise of over $10,000 per person for 5 people. The only reason they didn’t pass their own pay raise vote is because one board member didn’t think his first vote on the board should be to give himself a pay raise.

Sounds like a reasonable pay request. Umpires are a dying breed. It’s more of a love for the game than a paying job. Moving all games to weekends is not going to work or make anyone happy.

Drive, 2-4 hour games, verbal abuse from expert parents. Love for the game and kids only go so far. I don’t blame them.