NBA to start season with replacement referees

According to an earlier report by Yahoo Sports, the NBA will proceed with replacement referees after the National Basketball Referees Association rejected the NBA’s proposal Sunday.

According to the memo, the sides had agreed in principle to a new two-year deal last Friday. But the NBRA rejected the proposal Sunday.

“On Friday of last week, we reached an agreement in principal on the terms of a new two-year collective bargaining agreement with the negotiators for the National Basketball Referees Association. On Sunday night, the membership of the NBRA voted to reject that agreement. As a result, we have no expectation of concluding a timely labor contract with the NBRA, and are proceeding with replacement referees.”

According to the NBA, this is not the first time that commitments made by the NBRA  were not met.

According to the memo:

“The agreement in principal reached with the NBRA’s negotiators would have resulted in overall savings in the NBA’s referee program costs next year of approximately 3.5 percent, plus additional savings from agreed-upon attrition. Modest increases in referee salaries (by 2 percent over two years) would have been offset by decreases in health and welfare benefits, air travel and per diem policies, and playoff compensation. In addition, structural changes would have been made to referee retirement benefits, including converting the existing defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution plan.”

The contract expired Sept 1 and both sides have been unable to reach a deal. The NBA said that previous deals with the officials have been for five years, but the league agreed to make it two in this contract so the referees could renegotiate sooner.

The NBA will release the replacement refs roster before the first preseason game, schedule for Thursday at Utah. The league last used replacement officials early in the 1995-96 season.