I haven't been an active participant in USA Water polo in a while as an official but one of the things I wanted to talk about was the level system. In USA Water Polo referees are paid by levels: level 1 = 19$ level 2 = 27$ level 3 = 35$ level 4= $40 level 5 = 50$. In many ways I feel that this is unfair, why is that someone that is exactly on the same game making almost twice the amount of money as a partner referee? I can totally get that DIFFERENT levels of games such as 18U on 8 minute quarters making a different amount than 10U on 5 minute quarters but for the SAME level of play both the referees may be getting paid differently for total responsibility of the game? This seems odd.
While on the topic of the level system, why are level 5 referees working 10U games for 50$ each game while a level 1 can be on an 18U for only 19$? This leveling system seems unfair and I feel that we will continue to struggle to get referees with this system in place because people are getting paid way differently. I feel that tournaments also abuse this system as to maximize profits they will only accept 1s and 2s on their games as they don't have to pay them as much as level 5s. People do not charge less for a tournament for using only 1s and 2s but only have to pay these referees the 19 and 27$ respectively per game.
Junior olympics seems to be the most frustrating for referees as there are many level 4s and 5s in other states that do NOT see the same level of water polo as California does. It's easier to get promoted in other states to the higher levels (3-5) because water polo is not as popular as a sport in those states. A level 2 in Southern California for example can be promoted up through the ranks much quicker by going to another state and come back to retain that higher rank for higher pay.
Water Polo Referee Training at Water Polo Academy
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