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Old Sat Feb 08, 2020, 10:49pm
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Three D1 Refs Suing NCAA & Alliance Affiliated Leagues

https://www.courthousenews.com/older...them-from-d-1/

I heard about this while I was at a game the other day. Couldn't believe it until I found it online. Why would these people be surprised? You can't ref forever, just like you can't play forever.
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Old Sat Feb 08, 2020, 10:55pm
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Lol good luck gentlemen.
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Old Sat Feb 08, 2020, 11:26pm
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I might've buried the lead here. The larger takeaway is that they are claiming that the NCAA and conferences were acting as "employers" under New York state law. Link to actual filing:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-co...obert-ncaa.pdf

They bring up the camp system, e-mails and quotes from commissioners and JD Collins, and how their schedules died down after the push to hire younger officials. It reads as a couple of disgruntled old guys sore over the fact that they have been kicked to the curb, but if they can put a stop to the corrupt state of the "camp system", I'm all for it. This could have massive ramifications for officiating in the NCAA across all sports.
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Old Sat Feb 08, 2020, 11:28pm
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I see Ben Drieth being called to the stand for the plaintiffs.

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Old Sat Feb 08, 2020, 11:42pm
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Three D1 Refs Suing NCAA & Alliance Affiliated Leagues

I just don’t see how they have standing to sue as independent contractors.

Let’s say every year I have me fence painted (I really love my fence). For the past ten years, I hired the same painter. This year, I hired someone else. Same price, but just felt like I wanted to try something new. So what, do I now have to legally justify the whims with which I hire my independent contract painters? Of course not.

This is no different. Frivolous lawsuit.

Edit: After 989’s update post, I see the bigger picture. Looks like they’re going to make their case on similar grounds to the PIAA lacrosse thing a few years back. Who knows, maybe they’ll get somewhere.

There is no doubt that the concept of “independent contractor” is often stretched to its limits with sports officials.

Last edited by crosscountry55; Sat Feb 08, 2020 at 11:48pm.
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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 12:12am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscountry55 View Post

Edit: After 989’s update post, I see the bigger picture. Looks like they’re going to make their case on similar grounds to the PIAA lacrosse thing a few years back. Who knows, maybe they’ll get somewhere.

There is no doubt that the concept of “independent contractor” is often stretched to its limits with sports officials.
https://www.nfhs.org/articles/court-...t-contractors/

The PIAA won because while they have oversight of PA athletics, they didn't actually control the refs. The argument of this suit appears to be that the NCAA controls the conferences, and thus indirectly influences the hiring practices of the officials for these conferences.

The other deciding factors for the PIAA were that officials had discretion in apply the rules, contract/bylaw language, and that most officials were part-time.

When this issue arose last time, I believed that if anyone challenged an assignor/NCAA in court, we could see a different result. It's hard to say that we aren't officiating full time when we have a season from November to April (well, some of them), and then have camps/pre-season training from April to September. The NCAA hires a "National Coordinator" of officials, who has to be a salary guy, yet somehow they have a coordinator who coordinates a staff of whom?

We get videos once every other week which tell us how to do our jobs, we get e-mails telling us how to do our jobs, and we have to attend training to be told how to do our jobs, yet somehow we still meet the requirements for independent contractors?

That being said, I'm not a lawyer. I mostly do taxes. But after actually reading this, I wish these guys luck.
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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 09:24am
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No surprise at all that older officials are getting squeezed out of the Alliance. I predicted that a long time ago when the Alliance started. A lot of us have complained over the years about older officials holding onto schedules as their abilities have diminished. So we can't be mad that's being addressed.

The one thing that has definitely changed is that older officials will never get an opportunity to break into D1 anymore. I started officiating at the age of 37, got hired into D3 at 44, my one mid-major D1 at 45, and D2 at 50. That's not going to happen anymore, at least not in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeast.

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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 09:38am
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Three D1 Refs Suing NCAA & Alliance Affiliated Leagues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
No surprise at all that older officials are getting squeezed out of the Alliance. I predicted that a long time ago when the Alliance started. A lot of us have complained over the years about older officials holding onto schedules as their abilities have diminished. So we can't be mad that's being addressed.
I noticed one commissioner was prominently highlighted by the plaintiffs. Would seem that that individual did not care about such complaints until the NCAA began to force his hand.

I heard him speak at camps a few times over the years. To be honest I didn’t care for his approach and demeanor regarding advancement. I thought it was a little antiquated. In retrospect, seems like it was a little protectionist, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
The one thing that has definitely changed is that older officials will never get an opportunity to break into D1 anymore. I started officiating at the age of 37, got hired into D3 at 44, my one mid-major D1 at 45, and D2 at 50. That's not going to happen anymore, at least not in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeast.

I agree and this is something I have reluctantly come to accept. The geographic instability of my Navy career has always kept me from establishing “camp roots” in any one area. I had hoped to follow in your shoes after I retire in a few years, but that looks doubtful now. On the bright side, I’ll probably save thousands of dollars on camps I’ll choose not to attend now for the dead ends that they are.



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Last edited by crosscountry55; Sun Feb 09, 2020 at 11:02am.
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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 09:49am
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I don't know how the MEAC supervisor was highlighted prominently in the lawsuit since none of those officials worked in the MEAC. The MEAC actually isn't even included in the lawsuit.

The MEAC has a history of hiring older officials, including guys from New Jersey and New York, were these plaintiffs are from.

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Last edited by Raymond; Sun Feb 09, 2020 at 10:24am.
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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 10:09am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
I don't know how the MEAC supervisor was highlighted prominently in the lawsuit since none of those officials worked in the MEAC.

I assume it had to do with it’s affiliation to the consortium, for who’s other conferences the plaintiffs worked for.

But you’re right, this is a tenuous nexus at best, and one I’m sure the defense will exploit. You can’t cite the MEAC’s position if you weren’t “injured” (in a legal sense) by the MEAC.



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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 10:09am
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As long as you have assigners acting more as bosses than agents and the garbage camp system cesspool, you can never honestly say with a straight face that we are independent contractors. Assigners and conferences only call their officials “independent contractors” when it’s convenient for them.

That’s not to say I think the plaintiffs will prevail or that I think it’s in college officials’ best interest to be employees, but I’m surprised no one has raised a stink about this before. Seems that since these plaintiffs are on their way down, they have nothing to lose.
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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 02:05pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
No surprise at all that older officials are getting squeezed out of the Alliance. I predicted that a long time ago when the Alliance started. A lot of us have complained over the years about older officials holding onto schedules as their abilities have diminished. So we can't be mad that's being addressed.

The one thing that has definitely changed is that older officials will never get an opportunity to break into D1 anymore. I started officiating at the age of 37, got hired into D3 at 44, my one mid-major D1 at 45, and D2 at 50. That's not going to happen anymore, at least not in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeast.
That might be specific to that particular Alliance or consortium. I think it is still possible or it is happening in my part of the country. Some of it is based on who assigns all the lower-level conferences. Is it less likely to hire older officials? Yes, it is. But I think there are structures to identify officials for all their levels.

I'm not sure how this lawsuit helps. Because so much of this is subjective.

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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 02:43pm
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
That might be specific to that particular Alliance or consortium. I think it is still possible or it is happening in my part of the country. Some of it is based on who assigns all the lower-level conferences. Is it less likely to hire older officials? Yes, it is. But I think there are structures to identify officials for all their levels.



I'm not sure how this lawsuit helps. Because so much of this is subjective.



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It's creeping down in this region of the country. Two of the D3 conferences in the heart of ACC country are part of the Alliance training system now, plus a D2 farther up north. Also there's another D2 conference in the heart of ACC country that is basically, but not officially, tied to the Alliance also.

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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 03:19pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
It's creeping down in this region of the country. Two of the D3 conferences in the heart of ACC country are part of the Alliance training system now, plus a D2 farther up north. Also there's another D2 conference in the heart of ACC country that is basically, but not officially, tied to the Alliance also.
I work for the football "Alliance" under the Big Ten. The Big Ten uses in my area 4 Division III Conferences. This has been the case for probably 8 or 9 years now. I mention this because there was no basketball relationship until this year. The Big Ten brought into their "Consortium" two of those Division III on the basketball side. I personally work for two other assignors that are not apart of the consortium from an official relationship, but the assignors are D1 officials that assign multiple lower-level college Men's Conferences between them. So even if you are not in the "Consortium", you are likely being considered or could easily be considered for the Big Ten Consortium because of their very close relationship with the Big Ten already. The Big Ten already had 6 conferences under their umbrella before this year. They might add more in the future. But the reason is to get officials more experience to work games. We were told that if someone is working they have a shot at the other levels. And if you are officially assigned to the D1 side, that you would work to get guys multiple games at that level. The lower levels are also used to give those newly hired D1 officials or not full-time D1 officials the opportunity to work a lot of college ball.

My point is they are using younger guys and older guys to give some opportunities. But like anything, younger is definitely in.

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Last edited by JRutledge; Sun Feb 09, 2020 at 03:25pm.
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Old Sun Feb 09, 2020, 07:42pm
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It has been decades since I've done any labor law, but it is important to understand that this law suit is based on age discrimination under the NYC and NYS Human Rights laws, while the PIAA case was a federal NLRB case. Not only might the facts be significantly different, but the tests for "employee/independent contractor" may be different. And, of course, the NY state court is probably a more favorable forum for the officials than the current, GOP-majority NLRB.

A more apt analogy might be Kemether v. PIAA (1999), where a woman sued PIAA in federal court on the basis of sex discrimination, and prevailed under Title IX.

In any event, it is likely that the defendants will seek to move the cases to federal court.

Jeez, it's been 35+ years since I've thought about legal issues like this case raises.
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