Eddie Bonine

LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine

Advocate photo by Robin Fambrough

For the first time since the LHSAA split its football championships into select/nonselect playoffs in 2013 a sweeping plan to reunite the association or one to separate additional sports is not looming on the horizon.

There will be discussion when the LHSAA’s executive committee reviews the agenda for its annual January covention as part of its winter meeting set for 9 a.m. Thursday at the LHSAA office.

“There are classification-related items, but not a rural-metro proposal,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said. “The only way the rural-metro plan can get on the agenda now would be if someone on the committee put it on the agenda. The basketball coaches have two items, one of which would bring their sport back together. We have a number of items that address specific sports.”

A revamped rural-metro plan was circulated by the Louisiana Football Coaches Association in the spring/summer, but Notre Dame-Crowley football coach Lewis Cook Jr. said the coaches could not find a principal willing to make the presentation.

“We wanted someone else, someone from another school, to put their name on it, and that did not happen,” Cook said. “This is the first year of a two-year classification cycle. We’ll wait and see what happens next.”

LHSAA executive committee member Tommy Byler of North Vermilion will present the two proposals by the Louisiana High School Basketball Association. One would put the boys/girls basketball playoffs back together after just one year of a select/nonselect split. The other addresses the basketball split by putting select/nonselect teams in LHSAA tournaments on separate weeks, thus eliminating the bye week for select schools.

“Of the two, I think the second one has the best chance to pass,” Byler said of the separate tournaments plan he helped develop with Country Day's Mike McGuire. “There are people who want to see schools play together in all sports again. At some point, we have to look at what we have and start coming up with ways to fix the system as it is right now with the split.”

Byler has authored another proposal with that in mind. His plan would change the way the LHSAA classifies schools. Instead of classifying select/nonselect schools together, Byler’s plan would classify nonselect/public schools first. Select/nonpublic schools would be added back in.

“What it would do is divide things more equally in all classes,” Byler said. “You wouldn’t have 0-10 and 1-9 teams in the playoffs.”

Teurlings Catholic Principal Mike Boyer signed on with the basketball proposals. Boyer also put up a proposal to reunite baseball/softball teams after one year of their select/nonselect split.

“I believe we should be playing together,” Boyer said.

Bonine said separate sports-related proposals would expand playoffs brackets for two sports — volleyball and soccer — to 32 teams. The executive committee meeting also will include reports and player eligibility appeals by three schools — Calvin, Riverdale and Terrebonne.

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