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Where can I umpire all year around?


Sportalien5

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here we go. there is only 1 professional official of amateur players where you can make a living, and of course you will have to work your way to that level to start with.

It is without a doubt, D1 basketball, major conferences ie top 5 or 6 big conferences. The top lead officials, if they have not retired, Roger Ayers, Mike Eades, Ted Valentine, etc. make between 3500-4000 (all inclusive expenses included in that total, ie: game fee, flight fee, hotel fee, rental car fee, meal fee) per game and work or can work 75-105 games a year. So those are some pretty good W-2's in which you could pay for your own healt care, dental care, retirement plan etc,etc. They would be able to set up a schedule that sometimes lets you just drive from one city to another, (just dont get car fatigue and overdue it. max 200 miles sounds about right to cut down on airfare travel costs). one who has retired use to fly his own plane, but he was also a school principle or superintendant i believe back in the day (Mr. Hightower). you will be thoroughly vetted for a position on the staff due to massive betting on this sport to try and prevent an incident like happened in the NBA. The Steratore brothers of NFL fame run their own private company and do basketball D1 mens and womens hoops on the side if my memory serves me correctly.

College football white hat for major conferences, ie big 5 or 6, pays pretty much the amount listed above but there are not enough games to make larger salaries.

i am only including regular season and not conference tournaments and NCAA assignments in the above, but they are probably included in the total amount of games. the top guys take a financial hit to work NCAA tournament.

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37 minutes ago, dumbdumb said:

here we go. there is only 1 professional official of amateur players where you can make a living, and of course you will have to work your way to that level to start with.

It is without a doubt, D1 basketball, major conferences ie top 5 or 6 big conferences. The top lead officials, if they have not retired, Roger Ayers, Mike Eades, Ted Valentine, etc. make between 3500-4000 (all inclusive expenses included in that total, ie: game fee, flight fee, hotel fee, rental car fee, meal fee) per game and work or can work 75-105 games a year. So those are some pretty good W-2's in which you could pay for your own healt care, dental care, retirement plan etc,etc. They would be able to set up a schedule that sometimes lets you just drive from one city to another, (just dont get car fatigue and overdue it. max 200 miles sounds about right to cut down on airfare travel costs). one who has retired use to fly his own plane, but he was also a school principle or superintendant i believe back in the day (Mr. Hightower). you will be thoroughly vetted for a position on the staff due to massive betting on this sport to try and prevent an incident like happened in the NBA. The Steratore brothers of NFL fame run their own private company and do basketball D1 mens and womens hoops on the side if my memory serves me correctly.

College football white hat for major conferences, ie big 5 or 6, pays pretty much the amount listed above but there are not enough games to make larger salaries.

i am only including regular season and not conference tournaments and NCAA assignments in the above, but they are probably included in the total amount of games. the top guys take a financial hit to work NCAA tournament.

I agree, the key to officiating for income (non pro) is two things, making D1 and having flexibility, meaning multiple sports.  As you said, if you could officiate football in Fall, wrestling or basketball in winter, and baseball/softball/lacrosse etc in Spring, you could make a lot of money.

I know some people who are D1 in two sports, idk of any doing three sports at that level, but I think the lesser known sports (field hockey, lacrosse, etc) would be easier to work up due to less competition .  There’s a reason they get paid same for a 60 min game as baseball does for 6 hour doubleheader, it isn’t bc the sport brings in more money, it’s supply and demand…not many officials know those sports so have to pay to get them

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2 hours ago, SH0102 said:

According to zip recruiter, San Diego unified (2nd largest in CA), the entry level salary teacher salaries at the 75th percentile are $44k, meaning 3/4 start at that or below.  more than we start out at but hardly what I would call drastically more, especially given COL there.

By the way, as an educator and married to one, super undervalued and underpaid profession, so kudos to your wife

You keep bringing up starting salaries for teachers, but's that not even germane to the conversation. No where did I mention starting salaries. Even so. I would consider 44K a lot more than 30K, particularly with the benefits package in our area. You talk about college basketball officials making big money, but they certainly didn't start out making that kind of money. They worked their way up. There is very little chance for advancement for the majority working youth sports. And there is certainly no benefits package whatsoever. 

The point I was addressing to the OP, was that for the vast majority of amateur officials, it's not a career path. There is a difference between a good career and a job. A good career often involves good pay, a chance for advancement, benefits, and retirement. You're almost certain to not get that in amateur officiating. I said that there are exceptions, but those are few and far between, and take a long time to achieve.

On 11/12/2021 at 10:39 AM, SH0102 said:

I agree about the career thing…unless you can make MLB or at least minors so you can do high level D1 college, umpiring will be your second job, not career.

I'm not even sure why you're trying to take me to task on this issue. Your first post basically agreed with what I said. I understand you were talking about baseball only, but it certainly applies to other sports, too.

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On 11/15/2021 at 10:51 PM, JonnyCat said:

For the vast majority of amateur umpires/sports officials, it's not a career path, nor will it ever be. It's a part time, usually minimum wage or slightly better, hobby. You'll never be able to make money that will afford new cars, a mortgage, health insurance, retirement, etc. It's just not that kind of a job. Unless you have some other form of income, (other job, retirement or investment income, pension, spouse with a well paying job), it's going to always be poverty city. I live in a big city with year round officiating opportunities in various sports, and every single person I know that officiates full time as their sole source of income, looks like they live out of the back of their car. Not bashing anyone for their choices, it's just the way it is.

I realize there are some exceptions, but they are rare. The college guys that are making decent money have paid their dues and took a long time to get there. In our area, most of the new guys breaking into college get only a few games each year, and those guys all have other well paying jobs. It takes awhile to make good D1 money. And even then, it's not that great unless you can get a large amount of games.

I've done the math every which way, too, and it doesn't pencil out. In my area, HS varsity pays $83.00 per game. If you're able to do 100 HS games in a season, which is a lot of games (pretty much a game every day, we don't have too many DH's), that's only $8300.00 gross. You may be able to pick up some other games through youth ball (usually at $60.00 a pop), but your time is limited during the HS season. Say you can do 500 games per year, which is a sh!t-ton of games, at an average of lets say $75.00 per game. That's only $37,500.00 per year, gross. Even if it was $100.00 per game, it's still not enough to afford a decent lifestyle in this day and age. Even the minor league guys will tell you that they are living in poverty. And yes, you have to file and pay taxes, too.

Do what moves you, but know the realities of what you are getting into. Maybe you can make a little more doing other sports, but in most areas with year round opportunities, the cost of living is too high to be able to live comfortably with only officiating income.

Most people are better off to develop a career with good pay, benefits, retirement, and officiate on the side. My 2 cents worth.

If I ever decided to umpire for financial reasons it would be to fund an annual vacation...or Christmas presents.   It's exactly why my boss wife works part time...just a bit more money in the piggy bank for some fun.   Another $3-$5k play money would be all I ever hope for/achieve.

After that, I suppose it's all about perspective, what kind of lifestyle you currently have, and what you hope to have.   With the lifestyle I now have and come accustomed to, it would be impossible (or very depressing) for me to go back.

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Understanding that this is getting further from the OP's question...

6 minutes ago, noumpere said:

Even if I could eke out a living at it, I'd rather keep it a hobby than turn it into a job.

Exactly this.

I work with several college umpires who have said they'd like to do this full-time. I, on the other hand, like doing this because it gets me away from the stresses of the 9-5 job. I certainly don't want it to become that stress.

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18 hours ago, kylehutson said:

Understanding that this is getting further from the OP's question...

Exactly this.

I work with several college umpires who have said they'd like to do this full-time. I, on the other hand, like doing this because it gets me away from the stresses of the 9-5 job. I certainly don't want it to become that stress.

I can appreciate this philosophy...when something goes from "want to do" to "have to do", it becomes much less enjoyable.  All of a sudden, that storm that washes the fields for 3 days is a curse because it takes away the money you banked on having.

Umpiring has paid for my vacations (save the $ until have enough to go), and also funds my day care throughout the school year.  I made about $7k doing college last season, and no joke, right as season ended our HVAC took a dump and cost $6800 to replace.  Whole college season just to pay for that, but it was a lot better than having to take it out of savings because we didn't have it.

That said, as I work my 9 - 5, and get older, I am also realizing that when I am on my deathbed, I am not going to look back and wish I had worked more at my job, or made a little more money, I am going to wish I had more time to enjoy the things I enjoy.  And umpiring/officiating , aside from my family, is what I enjoy most.  Sports was my first love, as a 2-3 year old, and has been my entire life.  I have umpired probably over 1,000 games in the last 3 years and can remember maybe one or two that I didn't enjoy, and that was because I hadn't learned great game management yet.

I wish I could make umpiring my career (professional player would have been nice but that ship sailed a long time ago), and I have done the Math (see earlier posts)....it is possible, bc if I dive in, I might be able to get a lower level D1 schedule down the road and actually make some good money, but my family is most important, and I won't do it because I would never get to spend time together as a family (with kid during day, with wife late at night, never together the 3 of us)

But guys who work Big 10/12, ACC, SEC, PAC-12 schedules/weekends, can make a year's salary in 3 months and work as they please in the other 9....too late for me to board that ship, but my son is 14 and loves umpiring and is very good.  I will not discourage him from pursuing it bc he has a chance.

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at the collegiate umpiring level, if it could be done and i believe midwest ump says it just doesnt happen.

but if if if you could work the 5 days a week that the teams play, 3 conference games on the weekends and 2 non-conference game during the week that is 5 games a week for each team and they play a 14 week schedule that would be a total of 70 games, which again, will not happen.

but if it could happen that would be 70 games to umpire, if none go away to weather etc. there was a video, probably taken down now of someone saying the ACC, one of the big 5 or 6 conferences) pays 2200 for a weekend series (733 per game in addition to air fare, a room and meals, with one rental car for the whole crew), (no room, air fare, meals for games during the week non-con, just straight game fee) and this was prior to covid. so, if it were possible which it is not, that would be a 51k max or so for a season. However, the weekends plus 1 game during the week might be more feasible, or maybe just 13 weekends for most, with one week off.

some of the other conferences may pay 3-400 per game per weekend so, you can see how that ratchets down. if you want to work all 7 days, you might have to work d2,d3 to get in a full 7 day schedule if you are on caffeine overload for games. dont know what the grand total could be for a maxout, but i doubt, unless you are going solo, you could make  a living when you include health care etc others have mentioned.

And of course after those intense 14 weeks (remember conference tournament week is no guarantee nor NCAA playoff work), you would have the rest of the year to do travel ball, etc to try and make a full time living off baseball softball other sports etc., especially going back to the OP in the areas that have been mentioned as all year areas to work.

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On 11/8/2021 at 7:36 PM, Sportalien5 said:

Hi everyone, 

I've been umpiring for 10 years now baseball and softball all age groups. I really enjoy it a lot. I want to start umpiring all year around though. I'm on the east coast and where I live there's no activity Dec-March. Does anyone know of any leagues that go all year around? Maybe in Florida or California. 

Baseball goes 11 months out of the year here in NorCal

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