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Local umpires affected by game cancellations

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – With sporting events all over the county getting canceled, there’s more than just athletes and their coaches getting affected by the changes. The officials working the games are now finding themselves out of a job as well.

It’s not just at the national level either, but the local umpires are affected too.

“I mean if you would have told me last Wednesday night me walking of a Division I field that was my last D1 game or last Thursday night walking off a JUCO game was my last game of the 2020 season, I would have told you you’re lying,” Panhandle/Bay Area Officials Assignor Nate Starr said.

It wasn’t a lie though, sports from the national to high school level are on hold right now due to the coronavirus outbreak, which means umpires are not need for the time being.

“This is their livelihood, this is 30, 40 thousand dollars off the table for the rest of the year,” Starr said.

Starr worked with the referees in the Panhandle and said it’s not just affecting the umpires here, but everywhere.

“I got one of my best friends, he’s a minor league umpire and he’s on hold right now,” Starr said. “That’s his thing. I know guys in the minor leagues who flew out to their spring training and flew right back. It’s hitting everybody from the national stage to the rec leagues.”

Starr said he’s hoping to get more answers in the next few weeks and has filed claims with their insurance company to see if they can help, but there is so much unknown right now for these umpires futures.

“I understand we have to wait and see,” Starr said. “But these people need to know so I don’t know what to tell them. I can tell them ‘hey guys it’s cancelled’ but what do I tell them after that?”

Starr said the best case scenario for these officials would be for the high school season to come back, right now they are on a two-week hiatus.

The FHSAA said Monday that spring state championships are not canceled for now, but they will continue to monitor the situation over the next few weeks.

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