KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — High school basketball referees in Tennessee will be seeing pay cuts this season. The TSSAA worked with basketball supervisors to make the change after Governor Lee signed an executive order limiting crowd capacity at sporting events.

Because of the smaller crowds at games, schools are finding themselves with less money to pay referees. The original idea was to scale back and have just two refs instead of three, but TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress tells us it was actually the idea of basketball supervisors to keep all the refs and cut their pay instead.

“We felt that many of our schools request to go from a three person crew to a two person crew based on the attendance being restricted that it was a legitimate request. They came back to us and asked us if we would consider keeping the coverage the same on the floor and using 3 person crews and reducing the fee that the schools pay just to get through this tough stretch,” Childress said.

Referees will take a $25 pay cut per game. They were making $105 per game, now they will make $80.

One thing TSSAA officials stress is that this is not a permanent change. It’s only an adjustment to help schools get through the pandemic. As soon as games can be back at full capacity, TSSAA officials say referee pay will go back up.

The change officially went into effect on January 4, and will remain through the remainder of the 2020-2021 basketball season.