RIIL considers outsourcing football referees

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League, the governing body of high school sports in the state, is considering outsourcing its high school football referees next season.

But that's not all that could change. Games on Fridays and Thanksgiving Day could also be a thing of the past.

The RIIL is looking at potential out-of-state bids to referee high school football games. League officials said they are looking at proposals outside of Rhode Island in terms of rate of pay, training and assignment of officials. The league will pick a proposal Wednesday.

For the past 85 years, the Rhode Island Football Officials Association has been officiating games. The home team pays the association $79 per game.

"All the schools pay. We negotiate with the league for a fee for the game, but all the game fees are paid by the individual schools and school committees and local tax dollars," said Bruce Guindon, of the Rhode Island Football Officials Association.

The RIFOA has about 90 officials, more than any other bidder. But it has been the target of complaints.

"They feel that there are some officials or some of us that have bad attitudes, poor communication skills. That's the crux of the whole thing," Guindon said. "It's not all of us. I would say it's a limited number of officials that are viewed in that sense."

At least one of the out-of-state bidders doesn't have enough officials to cover the current number of Rhode Island games and it wants to move the games from Fridays to Thursdays.

Officials at the Rhode Island Interscholastic League said they will have a statement Wednesday after they meet and decide who will get the contract. They are looking at proposals from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.