I would like to thank the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for finally taking a small step in the right direction by voting to create separate football playoffs for public and select (private) schools.

In high school sports, if nowhere else, we should strive to create a level playing field. Traditionally that has been defined by student population density. For example, a 5A school drawing from a larger student population will generally have more athletes to choose from than a 2A school drawing from a much smaller student population.

Thus, dividing the schools according to the size of the student body has traditionally been accepted by everyone as fair.

Select schools continue to argue student population should be the determining factor. They argue if select schools are winning more often it is because they have developed better programs.

But that argument completely ignores the reality that select schools are not confined to a defined geographic boundary, thus the student population of a select school cannot be defined in the same way as a public school limited by boundaries.

Even absent financial aid, scholarships or other incentives, select schools have an unfair advantage in relation to student athletes for the simple reason that student athletes may choose to go to a select school no matter where they reside, while the same is not true for a public school which is determined solely by residency.

In my opinion, the LHSAA did not go far enough. All major sports should be divided into select and public divisions for both regular-season and post-season play.

This includes football, basketball (boys and girls), baseball, softball, track (boys and girls), volleyball, and possibly soccer. Smaller sports in which all schools do not participate could still compete in joint play.

No other solution is fair to all student athletes.

Nor should home-schooled children be allowed to compete on a high school team. There are advantages to home-schooling and there are disadvantages. Not being part of a student body is one of the disadvantages.

I have followed high school baseball in my community for some time. West Feliciana plays in a district with Parkview Baptist. Since I have lived here West Feliciana has never beaten Parkview in baseball.

In fact no one I have spoken to can remember West Feliciana ever winning a baseball game against Parkview Baptist.

Separating these schools into different divisions is long overdue.

Paul Spillman

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St. Francisville