Games scheduled as planned while local referees, Lee County schools attempt to reach pay agreement

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Student athletes across SWFL are gearing up for Friday night football.

“It’s more than just a game, it’s a livelihood,” said strong side tackle, Tommy Sciarrone.

Sciarrone’s junior season is just days away. But much of the conversation leading up to the season has not focused on the game itself.

“If you don’t have referees to keep the peace to keep the rules to keep the games going, you don’t have sports,” said Stephen Holloway, former varsity soccer and golf coach for a handful of schools in Southwest Florida.

Instead the focus has been on officials who last week went to Lee County Schools asking for more money.

After dozens of the South Gulf Football Official Association members expressed concerns over the $65 maximum rate set by the Florida High School Athletic Association.

“At the end of my career, I was literally making $0.32 cents an hour as a head coach for a varsity sport,” said Holloway.

It’s a concern Holloway can sympathize with.

But Josh Vogelback, head coach for Bishop Verot is confident the Vikings will take the field for their Thursday night game against Lely.

“We have a great administration so we have complete trust in them that they will do everything in their power to make sure our season goes as planned,” said Vogelbach.

WINK News received word Tuesday evening from John Mantica, President of the SGFOA, that a deal had been made between Lee County and other area schools.

But Lee County Schools denied that any agreement had been reached as they are continue to work toward a solution.

At this point in time Lee County School officials have not had to cancel or postpone any high school games.

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