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County plans to use new refs' group

Bob Hosack, Pinellas County's athletic director, said he has reached a tentative agreement with a new officials group, but is waiting for the paperwork to be okayed by the FHSAA.

"I expect to have a signed contract within the next couple of days," Hosack said.

He declined to name the organization until the paperwork is complete. But it won't be Suncoast Basketball Referees, its president, Jeff Amper, said last week.

Suncoast, which has officiated Pinellas County games for several years, is the only FHSAA-sanctioned basketball officials organization in the county. Hosack said Suncoast wanted more than the 2.5 percent increase he was willing to pay, so he began to seek other organizations. Amper declined to discuss the negotiations.

Hosack said the agreement is with a newly-formed organization, but that organization must be sanctioned by the FHSAA before it can contract with county schools. Ron Allen, deputy commissioner of the FHSAA, was away from his Gainesville office Monday and unavailable for comment.

Officials are paid on a per-game basis, but must be members of a sanctioned organization to officiate. Contracts are made with the organization, which in turn, pays the officials.

_ ROBBI PICKERAL

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