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The Preps : Southern Section Will Raise Fees for Officials : Fines for Missing Assignments Rejected

Times Staff Writer

Members of the Southern Section’s general council overwhelming approved on Thursday a three-year contract that will increase officials’ fees but they rejected a fine system that would penalize schools and officials for missing an assignment.

The new contract will give officials in all sports a $3 raise per event beginning in the 1989-90 school year followed by a $2 increase in 1990-91 and a $1 increase in 1991-92. The $3 increase includes a $1 fee that officials pay for the assigning process.

Four proposals concerning fines were debated and ultimately rejected. The proposals set fines for schools failing to notify officials’ assigners about cancellations or changes of dates and locations for athletic events. Also, officials who fail to show for any athletic event or arrive late would be fined.

“The officials associations were upset that games were being changed or canceled and schools weren’t notifying the assigners of the changes,” said Gary Norton, Irvine principal and chairman of the committee that made the recommendations. “We’ve always worked on a good-faith basis with officials, but they wanted something in writing.”

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The problem of changing the dates of athletic events was evident last fall when, in the same week, 109 schools in the section switched their final football game from Friday, Nov. 11, to Thursday, Nov. 10. The original date was Veterans Day, a school holiday.

“Schools wanted a three-day weekend, which is nice, but they created a nightmare for the officials’ assigners,” said Dean Crowley, the section’s associate commissioner.

Officials also were awarded a travel fee adjustment from 15 cents to 18 cents per mile for trips more than 40 miles.

Other items that were approved included:

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--A qualifying standard of 230 or lower for eight matches for third-place teams entering the section’s golf championships. The standard score is based on an average “best” nine-hole score.

--A change in the fall season sports calendar will allow football teams that schedule games out of state to begin practice one week early with approval from the local school board, league and section office.

--A one-year pilot program in the South Coast League will increase the quarters of freshman football games from 10 to 12 minutes.

Proposed items that will be voted upon in the next council meeting on April 27 included:

--The addition of a scrimmage to the 10 games that varsity football teams are currently playing or a nine-game schedule with two scrimmages.

--Beginning the 1990-91 basketball season the first Wednesday following Thanksgiving rather than the traditional starting date of Dec. 1.

--Limiting the number of appearances a varsity pitcher can make to three games (or a maximum of 30 outs) in a calendar week.

--An additional week of conditioning beginning Feb. 5 prior to the start of the baseball season beginning in 1990.

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