Whether officiating professional or amateur sports, referees are usually paid a salary — base or per game. However, since salaries are usually low for high school athletics, referees have other full-time jobs that give them the flexibility to officiate games on a part -time basis. High school basketball referees normally work in pairs and are responsible for ensuring that the rules of the game are enforced.
Simplyhired.com states that the average yearly salary for high school basketball referees is $22,000 as of 2011. In comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median yearly salary for umpires, referees and related workers is approximately $23,000 as of 2008.
By the Game
High school basketball referees may work several games a week and may pick up considerable extra income. In San Diego, California, referees earn approximately $67 per game and may work as many as four games per week. In Santa Cruz County in California high school basketball referees may earn between $30 and $63 per game.
In a February 2011 article for Bayou Preps, a Louisiana-based newspaper, Chris Singleton cites the complaints by high school basketball referees in the state during the Louisiana High School Athletic Association convention. According to the article, high school referees in the state earned the lowest per game salary in the nation at $31 per game. Referees in Mississippi earned the next lowest salaries at $40 per game. The national average, according to the newspaper, is $69 per game.
While varsity basketball games are typically the most lucrative for officials — $50 to $75 per game, basketball referees on the collegiate and pro level earn considerably higher salaries. Referees who work Division 3 college games earn approximately $135 per game while those working Division 1 games earn as much as $700 per game. High school basketball referees drive to their games and must pay for the cost of gas. In contrast, referees working Division 1 college games receive hotel and flight accommodations. National Basketball Association referees make six-figure incomes with top referees earning as much as $400,000 annually.