FULTON, Miss. (WTVA) — This group of men and women often take all of the blame and none of the glory, but without them, the game doesn’t happen. Like the athletes, umpires had the game they love got ripped away from them. In addition, many of them lost their way of helping out with the bills.
“All of a sudden to get to where it’s just gone,” ICC head football coach Sean Cannon said.
Cannon has been a high school umpire for over 20 years.
“I was talking to one of my buddies the other day, he said I’d go do a double header for free,” Cannon said. “I said heck yeah, in a heartbeat. You get used to doing it so much, getting into a routine, that you do miss it.”
And missing the pay that goes along with it.
“It’s good pay, it all depends on how many games you do of course,” Cannon said. “You know I guess if you say I had a hobby, that’d be one of my hobbies. I don’t play much golf or anything like that, but that’s pretty much what i like to do.”
For Coach Cannon, it’s a hobby. For recent Delta State graduate and Batesville native Landon Fullilove, he was hoping to make umpiring a career.
“And then this happens and I’m like whoa, I mean financially it really jammed me up,” Fullilove said.
What makes life a bit more difficult, as a full time umpire in Division II’s Gulf South Conference, he’s classified as an independent contractor in the state of Mississippi, which means he’s not entitled to unemployment benefits. Despite the hurdle he still hopes to make it the sec someday.
“I love umpiring, I want to make it to the SEC, I definitely want to make it as far as I can umpiring,” Fullilove said.
Fullilove graduated with a business degree from Delta State. He told me he’s going to have to put that to use sooner than he hoped.
Tomorrow we wrap up our week long look into the spring cancellation effect with a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.