Three Caddo Parish schools got a reprieve from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on Wednesday.
An LHSAA executive committee elected not to impose playoff bans in multiple sports for C.E. Byrd, Huntington and Southwood for having students enrolled in two athletic physical education periods. Southwood and Byrd were each fined $1,000 during the hearing at the LHSAA office. There was no fine for Huntington.
The LHSAA released a ruling last Friday that stated the schools faced playoff bans in multiple sports because they violated the athletic P.E. rule, which led to the hearing. The Byrd football team, currently fourth in the Class 5A power rankings, was among the teams facing a playoff ban.
“I did what I needed to in enforcing the rule in the book (LHSAA handbook), and the executive committee exercised the abilities to overturn it,” LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said.
“The assistant superintendent from Caddo, Mike (Keith) Burton did an eloquent job of showing the holes in the rule. What we had was the best decision for students though. I’m sure there will be some up there (in the Shreveport area) that won’t agree with it.
“At this point and stage in my short tenure here, I think this is a landmark decision for the LHSAA.”
The hearing lasted about two hours and afterwards, the Shreveport contingent was all smiles.
“We were very pleased that the LHSAA executive committee did give us a chance to present the facts at hand,” said Burton, the Caddo School Board chief academic officer. “I think we were able to show there was no clear advantage gained.
“From Day 1 we’ve self-reported and have been very transparent. We will continue to do make sure we’re in compliance. The bottom line at the end of the day is that the student-athletes were not punished.”
The 10-year-old rule violated states if a school is found to have a student-athlete enrolled in multiple athletic physical education classes the teams in question are banned from the postseason.
The Caddo schools said the conflict arose when its schools went from a block schedule to a seven-class schedule.
Byrd Athletic Director-football coach Mike Suggs said his school reported its violations in seven sports about two weeks ago. Suggs said that up to 300 student/athletes could have been hit with a playoff ban.
Bonine said the rule will be changed and joked on camera about having Burton help write the new one.
Burton added, “I think it’s important to note that the rule is 10 years old. Since then, schools have had to get a lot more creative in how they use class time they have.”