The issue of full-time officials has percolated from time to time over the past five years. Indeed, the 2012 labor deal between the league and the NFL Referees Association gave the NFL the right to hire up to 17 full-time officials.

The NFL once again is considering whether to finally follow through on it, via Judy Battista of NFL Media.

So why hasn’t it happened yet? As PFT wrote in December 2016: “The fundamental problem, as it relates to making a part-time, seasonal employee a full-time, year-round employee, is providing the employee with enough compensation to entice the employee to ditch any other employment. Complicating matters is the fact that having other employment gives the official financial security in the event that the officiating assignment evaporates due to poor performance.”

According to the NFL Media report, “full-time referees would be gradually phased in, to give current referees the opportunity to either exit their current careers or to leave the officiating ranks.” Innocuous on the surface, that sentence carries a fairly ominous message: Referees eventually will be expected to pick one job or the other, and those who don’t want to give up more lucrative professions will have to at some point surrender their officiating careers.