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The GCLA Way


Our GCLOA Officials

Our prior league and our prior officials association were,
and are, basically two separate entities. Our prior
officials association has been in business for many years,
and is the regional branch of the national association.

Along the way, our prior officials association somehow
got it into their heads that they must adopt a "union"
mentality in their business approach. They made a carefully
thought-out, conscious decision to take what should be a
fun and rewarding activity and spin it out of control into
something that for a lot of people has negative connotations.
In a right-to-work state like Texas, that's big.

From this point forward, I will refer to our prior referee
association as the "union". That is what they prefer

In no way is this to suggest that they do not strive for a
high degree of professionalism, and in no way am I suggessting
that there are not good people involved in their organization.
To the contrary. Some of them have been friends of mine for years.
Rather, it is at the top of their chain, their "union bosses"
that have brought about the necessity for the GCLA adopting
their own referee association, the GCLOA.

As with any union, their number one concern is with the union
itself. Every year they seek to renew with the competitive
leagues the contracts that will make them the exclusive
providers of officials for those leagues. What that does
is put them on the opposite side of the table with these
leagues. So, you have two sides opposite each other, each
looking out for their own interests.

When we formed the GCLA, we realized that we had certain needs
that were unique to our league. When expansion is the name
of the game, we needed referees who understood this. We needed
referees who understood the financial constraints of a club
team. Our clubs do not have alumni or booster clubs contributing
money, nor do they typically have a university that will grant
them untold thousands to field a team. New teams have to spend
money on equipment, uniforms, field prep, etc. And most have
to do this with minimal sponsorship at best.

Most importantly, though, we needed referees who believed in
the same things we do. We needed a referee organization that
can sit on the same side of the table as the league, sharing
our goals for expansion while planning strategies to help
make that work.

Our referees range from being very experienced to completely
new. They have a genuine love for the game, which is their 
number one motivation. And yes, they are paid for their services.
But they know they aren't gonna get rich doing this. 
They know what our league is about, and want for their referee
experience with the GCLA to be both fun and rewarding for them.

Some of our referees actually came from the union. These were
basically fellows that the union no longer wanted. After they
were "run-off", the union was then heard to complain that they
were short of refs. And typically, when these refs decided to
work for the GCLOA, they were verbally abused by the union.

Exactly what power does the union think they have that they can
unceremoniously disgard these guys, and then criticize them for
finding work as referees in our league? Texas is a right-to-work
state, and any efforts made by the union to stop any of our
officials from finding work would be considered a restriction
of free trade.

Many times, our referees have been referred to as "scabs".
Where, I might ask, does that come from? Our guys simply
love the game. They give us good, reliable service at a fair
price. They believe in the same things we do and are an arm
of the GCLA. We always try to find a way to make things work
by working together. 

By any name, I'll take these guys any day.

I'll describe some things that have actually happened in the
past, and I will also say that in no way will we even think
of doing any of these things:

If one of our college teams decides to play a game against a
team that employs referees from an outside source, union or not,
we WILL NOT contact that school and threaten that program
with termination for using "unsuitable" referees.

We WILL NOT blacklist teams for employing outside referee
organizations for games when it is needed.

We WILL NOT blacklist any referee who genuinely decides to
leave the GCLOA, just in case that referee wishes to come back.

We WILL NOT put the needs of our referee association ahead of
the needs of our league and its service to lacrosse. Both
the GCLA AND the GCLOA exist to serve and expand the sport,
not the other way around.

We will always look for reasons to employ a referee with our
organization rather than look for reasons to get rid of him or 

We WILL NOT chastise a referee because his socks are wrong, and
in the same breath NOT thank him or her for bailing our league
out when we are in a personnel pinch.

We WILL NOT employ devious or dishonest methods designed
to steal away referees from other referee organizations,
including the union.

Is it any wonder that we have our own referee organization,
one that fits our needs?

The referees in the GCLOA are heroes to our league, and in
that they are heroes to the sport of lacrosse as well.