There will be no preseason football kickoffs in Lee County Thursday night. And games are called off all weekend because of a pay dispute with local FHSAA referees.
Bishop Verot Catholic High School football team was scheduled to take the field for its kickoff classic against Lely High School Thursday.
The coach told us the team will suit up but won’t have any refs, forcing Lee County schools to cancel their kickoff classics.
Referees have been asking FHSAA to raise the $65 maximum they can get paid for the last five years. But the South Gulf Football Association took their concerns to a new level last week, announcing its refs wouldn’t work any games under the agreed upon contract from May.
SGFA President John Mantica said he thought they reached a deal Tuesday,
The School District of Lee County said it supports the refs’ pleas, as the District continues to work with all parties to reach a resolution.
But wide receiver Terry Lindsey said he can’t fathom losing a regular season game because so much is riding on this season.
“We have seniors out here depending on this last season to go out and prove to scouts what they can do,” Lindsey said. “And taking away these games is kind of like limiting their chances to go out and perform and do what they have to get to that next level.”
The nine non-public schools in Lee County have already agreed to pay officials more.
However, since FHSAA revoked the group’s sanction earlier this week, they can’t work those games.
The regular season is eight days away, so a potential contingency plan would need to be implemented if players like Lindsey hope to have a full season.