IMPORTANT & URGENT Message for Sports Officials Who Have Lost Games/Money

Mar 20th, 2020

UPDATE 4/15/2020: State by State Unemployment Resources for Sports Officials

Since yesterday, I have been hearing from the NSGA (National Sporting Goods Association), a group of which we are a member. They are spearheading a campaign to ensure that retailers affected by this are included in the coronavirus stimulus bill. I have been sharing that message with all sports officials retailers to contact their representatives and senators.

Here is where your part comes in. I am lucky enough to have a contact in Mitch McConnell's office that I spoke at length with this morning about the impact on not just companies like us, but on the INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS THAT ARE SPORTS OFFICIALS LIKE YOU.

The bottom line is their office had NO IDEA of the effects that this is having on umpires (and referees) alike. YOU ARE SIMPLY NOT ON THEIR RADAR.

I shared figures of income lost at various levels. Again, they had no idea of any impact, let alone such a large impact at ANY LEVEL youth to college who rely on seasonal incomes.

In their words, "If no one tells us, we don't know".

WHY THIS MESSAGE IS URGENT: They are working on these bills right now - as in today. It was shared that they are genuinely wanting to give relief wherever it is needed. The only problem is they are not aware of you and how you fall in the cracks.

It's time that you spoke up and shared your story about you as an independent contractor and how much you have been affected!

The best way to contact your representative is by contact form. I have provided the links. I wish I had a little more time to create a template for you. (See below for the best I could do at this time)

Here are the links:

FOR HOUSE: You simply enter your zip code and fill out the contact form:
https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

FOR SENATORS: Locate on the list here:
https://www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm

(Perhaps: The Coronavirus has had a significant impact on me as an independent contractor in the sports profession. I am a....for the....in... I have had X number of games canceled that amount to X amount of income lost. This income lost has the following impact on me and my family.

I am requesting that Congress provide relief to myself and the independent contractor community that serves sports through the stimulus package being considered. Without sports officials, sports do not exist. Please consider us in your stimulus package, whether through direct payment subsidies and/or low-interest loan opportunities. By doing so, you can ensure that we will continue to be here for sports in the long-term. Thank you for your consideration.)

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About the Author

Picture of Jim Kirk

President Jim Kirk

Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire during the Elbeco shirt years. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought Ump-Attire.com in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide and a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020. He maintains long-standing relationships with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy and the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.

Comments

  • As stated above by fellow vet Randy Sanders, we have always respectfully followed the leadership of our great nation. I hope they step up and assist us as officials. I am a disabled vet and really depend on my independent contractor income from both a sports official in college and high school softball, football and basketball as well as an Uber/Lyft driver. I work in the gulf coast areas of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Mobile Alabama. With the cancellation of our 3 annual spring break tournaments, the loss of my college schedule and the ride share income from the spring break/vacation visitors that are not coming to the beach I have lost nearly 10k in March/April. I wrote my congressman and both senators mostly because of this info from Ump-Attire.com. I know this has probably hurt your sales volume as well and appreciate your help in getting as many of the officials as possible to reach out to these leaders for help. Thank you for all you do in addition to providing great service and products for our craft. Hopefully we will get this issue in check before it affects our fall sports.

    • Comment by Ricky Johnson
    • Mar 23, 2020
    Reply
  • Thanks for the resources. Fingers are crossed.

    • Comment by Jim Hayden
    • Mar 23, 2020
    Reply
  • Thank you Jim.. I to am a umpire and I also taking huge loss in wages from this outbreak of coronavirus..My thoughts and prayers go out to all my fellow officials and pray we get back to normal soon...

    • Comment by Jacky Chronister
    • Mar 23, 2020
    Reply
  • Once you find out your rep, where do you go from there to fill out your letter?

    • Comment by len pawlaczyk
    • Mar 23, 2020
    Reply
    • Either send them an email, or call their office and speak with someone. You can use the email template we suggested at the bottom of the blog above if you'd like.

      • Comment by Josh Mann
      • Mar 23, 2020
      Reply
  • Having served honorably (USMC-O2) I have always given whichever administration that’s in charge—regardless of the party—enough room, trust and respect to make the right call during tenuous times. This was how I was trained. After buying all new gear this year from Ump-Attire.com (nearly $500 worth and as usual, great service) I’ve learned that all my Varsity/JV games have all been cancelled in the both states I am certified to work in—plus MLB rules Independent ball. I want to thank you guys for the heads up—this really goes a long way in my book—because you’re not just selling us gear, you’re in the trenches with us. I can take the loss, which won’t destroy me, but it’s important to note there are great umpires out there who cannot. Many whom I personally know, now have to fight like hell to get this administration’s attention, while the cruise and airline industry enjoy the fruits of their attention and OUR hardworking tax dollars. Here we go again! I hope all you guys contact your elected officials— Ump-Attire.com has made this simple—so we get our share. We need solidarity! We’re not asking for much, in the scope of things, but we are asking for what’s fair.

    • Comment by Randy Sanders
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • Thank you for promoting the idea of supporting sports officials that are being hurt by this pandemic. My messages are sent! It is nice to know you and Ump-Attire.com are keeping us in mind.

    • Comment by Douglas LaMunyon
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • In a job that gets little recognition, but certainly a lot of negativity, its not surprising to hear that we weren't on their radar. Thank you Jim Kirk and the people at Ump-Attire.com for bringing this to light. I know the people at Ump-Attire.com do what they can for us officials on a daily basis, and have helped me on several occasions. I know I will contact my reps. Hopefully we don't loose officials because of this. Be careful and stay healthy till time for us to do what we do. Thanks Again. - Dave Forsythe

    • Comment by dave Forsythe
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • Wow, how awesome the concern is for officials. Thank you!

    • Comment by James Statler
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • Jim: There happen to be two bills in the pipeline that will provide stimulus money to any and all independent contractors, and that you can mention by name to your congressperson or their office. Both are in the House right now: the "Automatic BOOST to Communities Act" proposed by Rep. Tlaib of Michigan (https://tlaib.house.gov/sites/tlaib.house.gov/files/Automatic%20Boost%20to%20Communities%20Act%20.pdf) and the House Financial Services Committee stimulus plan (https://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fsc_covid-19_legislative_package_-_03.18.20.pdf), which both provide recurring cash payments with no means- or unemployment-testing. And it isn't just us officials that are considered independent contractors--if you take an Uber or Lyft, or have food delivered to you by Grubhub, all those people are technically independent contractors. This impacts a LOT of us.

    • Comment by Kevin Gier
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • Just submitted emails to both. SUPER EASY! Do it.

    • Comment by Michael Witham
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • I've sent both my senators this email. I hope it works. Thanks for looking out for us. This was a great idea.

    • Comment by Rodney Lewis
    • Mar 22, 2020
    Reply
  • Thank you for the message template, Ump-Attire.com, and the valuable information imparted here. Non-pro umpires, individually, have already lost thousands in game fees, and we have no chance of making that money back, so legislative relief will be most welcome. It doesn’t cost anything fill in the form you’ve linked us to, and it’s definitely a positive step any of us can take to help our brother and sister umpires survive this catastrophe. Please, officials, contact ONLY your own local or state representatives; if you send in a form to a congressperson who does not represent you, it will be ignored. Thank you, Jim Kirk and ump-attire.com. Just knowing someone cares is a bright spot in a dark, confusing time.

    • Comment by Perry Barber
    • Mar 20, 2020
    Reply