NISOA members may have received notice from the NCAA through ArbiterSports that the NCAA is imposing a registration fee on soccer officials for the 2015 season. Officials who elect to register with the NCAA and pay the registration fee will have access to the NCAA Soccer Central Hub. They will also be eligible for NCAA post-season contest assignment consideration, provided the official meets or exceeds additional NCAA eligibility criteria (i.e. achieving a satisfactory rules test score and other criteria to be determined by the NCAA). As of this date, registering with the NCAA is NOT required for regular season NCAA, NAIA, Junior College or other intercollegiate soccer games. Also, individuals who elect not to register will still be eligible for NAIA, NCCAA, NJCAA and NIRSA post season game assignments.
From 2010 until 2014, NISOA had an agreement with ArbiterSports and the NCAA to register the entire NISOA membership with the NCAA. The cost of NCAA registration was $22 per official. At the time, NISOA Executive Leadership believed having an agreement with the NCAA was in the best interest of our membership as well as providing the NCAA with a large pool of qualified officials for their post-season contests. In addition, NISOA Executive Leadership absorbed the cost of registering the entire membership (approximately 5,400 members at a total approximate cost of $118,800) without raising national dues. In context, this fee to the NCAA was approximately 20% of NISOA’s annual operating budget so we began a series of cost cutting initiatives to be able to hold the line on member dues and still register the entire membership with the NCAA. Each year, the NCAA registration fee increased. Registration fees increased to $25 per person in 2012 and $28 per person in 2013. As NISOA membership grew to 5,500, the cost of registration increased to over $150,000 per year when our agreement with the NCAA expired in 2013. Even with all the cost cutting efforts, NISOA had to draw on our reserves to balance our budget for the first time ever in 2013.
NISOA Executive Leadership began negotiating with the NCAA in early 2014 to reshape our agreement. Our goals were:
- Continue to provide the NCAA with large roster of qualified soccer officials for post-season competition.
- Maintain NISOA financial viability without increasing member costs in the form of a raise in national dues.
In 2014, we agreed to a one-year contract extension with the NCAA for a lump sum payment of $150,000 while negotiations continued for a multiyear agreement. Both NISOA and the NCAA made several proposals over the past two years but unfortunately we have not come to an agreement as of this date. The NCAA is now reaching out to individual officials for registration.
What are your options?
As previously indicated, registering with the NCAA Central Hub allows an individual to be eligible for NCAA post season assignments, provided all other criteria are satisfied. If an individual elects not to register there is no impact on regular season assignments or post season assignments with the NAIA, NJCAA, NCCAA and NIRSA. In other words, the only post season assignments that are impacted are the NCAA Division I, II and III games.
As of today, registering with the NCAA Central Hub is an individual decision. NISOA leadership will continue to work with the NCAA in an attempt to reach an agreement where all NISOA members will be incorporated into the NCAA Central Hub as was in the past several years. You will be kept informed of any addition information on this matter.