Shreveport-based reports of a Wednesday press conference to announce the formation of a second high school sports organization did not pan out. However, many LHSAA schools did receive a copy of an outline for a new “athletic cooperative” developed by Paul Rainwater, a former Chief of Staff for Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Rainwater’s framework for a new organization would require 60 member schools, and schools would pay a one-time membership fee of $15,000. Rainwater confirmed he has volunteered to serve as the organization’s executive director.
Rainwater said he is negotiating with LSU to host for football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball starting in 2016-17.
“I don’t know any press conference,” Rainwater said. “I was asked to put together a structure, which is what I’ve done. As far as I’m concerned, my job is done until I hear more from the schools and I have not.
“I was asked to come up with an alternative. There are questions about governance with the LHSAA and this addresses that. The model I put together mirrors that of the U.S. Senate. It would take a three-quarters vote to bring something up for a vote that is a major change. The thing you want is stability so athletes and schools can compete. It takes the politics out of it.”
Most schools said they had heard nothing about a press conference, other than references on twitter. Several schools said they received the information in the mail and had not had a chance to look at it yet. The documentation follows two meetings that were held in January and February with schools from across the state. The second meeting, held January 29, was for parochial schools in particular.
LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine declined comment, but noted that both he and the LHSAA executive committee are aware of Rainwater’s plan.
“I’ve received the letter and structure,” Teurlings Catholic Principal Mike Boyer said. “There were two meetings held. I know the letter says to start in 2016-17, but that is way too fast as far as I’m concerned.
“There is still a lot we don’t know with regard to what will happen in the legislature and what structure the LHSAA will come up with. There are too many unknowns.”
Catholic High Athletic Director J.P. Kelly said his school would follow the direction given to parochial schools.
“There were two good meetings where we given a lot of information and ideas,” Kelly said. “We certainly don’t know of any decision to act on that.”