JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Football on the First Coast is a week away. High school players practicing, but referees are seeing somelast minute red tape.
Anew state law requires school vendors, including referees, wear badges. The badges are a visible sign that a person has had a criminal background check.
Duval County isrequiring badges.
The North Florida Officials Association says the problem stems from referees who reside outside Duval County who may notdecide not to make the jump to ref games in Jacksonville.
"The guys who are not fingerprinted in Duval County, guys fingerprinted in St. Johns, Clay or Baker, they have to pay additional fee to get badges in Duval County," said Mike Hayden who heads up the officials association.
Hayden says in adjoining counties school officials exercise the option of meeting referees when they arrive and stay with them until a game is over. Not the case, he says, in Duval County.
Right now Duval Countyhas been provided a list of all the referees to see who is eligible to referee games in Jacksonville.
"Hopefully [we will be] able to provide officials for the games," said Hayden who has 13 years under his belt refereeinghigh school football.