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NFL officials have until August 13 to opt out of season

The officials’ union and the NFL negotiate working conditions for the 2020 season. Officials can opt-out of the season and return in 2021.



The NFL and the NFL Referees Association, the officials’ union, have negotiated the working conditions for the 2020 season.

The NFLRA leadership will meet with rank-and-file members on Monday to discuss the details of the agreement.

According to a news release, the officials have until August 13 to decide if they will officiate this season, or opt out due to the covid-19 pandemic.

If the officials opt out, they will be paid $30,000, take a leave of absence, and be guaranteed their job for the fall of 2021.

Scott Green, NFLRA executive director, commented on the agreement in the news release.

There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members. Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the League that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.

If an official tests positive for covid-19 during the season, the illness will be treated as an in-game injury and the official will be entitled to injury benefits.

Separately, Football Zebras has learned that officials that are in the Officiating Development Program — the pool of approximately 40 college officials being groomed in preseason activities for potential NFL hire — have been told to “have their uniforms ready” for a temporary bump up by Walt Anderson, the new senior vice president of officiating development and training. In previous years, this was not a possibility, as it would create uncertainty with the college conferences.

Also the NFL has informed officials of their reshuffled crews, which is subject to change once the opt-out deadline has passed. The idea is to create regional crews to cut down on travel, and to divert officials from regions where there are geographical quarantine laws.

We are in the process of confirming the new crew assignments.

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"