Live updates from the LHSAA annual convention _lowres


There’s very little that I’d call conventional about the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s upcoming annual convention.

Thanks to a wide range of agenda items, it’s hard to know whether LHSAA member principals will approve proposals that change the structure and/or the future of the organization.

Will administrators split the LHSAA in sports other than football, opt to bring things back together in some fashion or continue with the current system of select/nonselect playoffs for football only?

As one LHSAA observer said last week, “The silence is deafening.”

Principals are playing it close to the vest, presumably waiting to see what is said at this week’s area meetings.

Here’s my idea — why not take an unconventional approach to the two-week sequence that begins Tuesday with the start of area meetings across the state?

Like most sports organizations, the LHSAA is known for its playoffs and championship events. Why not consider this week’s area meetings and the LHSAA convention Jan. 28-30 to be a different kind of post-season bracket?

The area meets set for Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans would be your semifinals. The convention in Baton Rouge would of course be the final.

The LHSAA brain trust of incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine, Interim Executive Director Jimmy Anderson and President Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic will try to drive their points home during the area meetings.

The LHSAA executive committee issued a position statement against widening the split to include other sports. That will be a major “talking point.”

I expect the LHSAA leaders to ask member schools for time and patience as Bonine prepares to take over in March. The message is simple — don’t make any radical changes until the new guy has a chance to fashion a solution for the LHSAA’s public school vs. private school issues.

Others, including Many Principal Norman Booker III, will have their own “talking points.” Booker has proposals that would expand the split to include basketball, softball and baseball.

Three executive committee members, Ouachita’s Todd Guice, Ruston’s Ricky Durrett and West Ouachita’s Mickey Merritt, have their own proposals that would bring things back together, formulating a 6A class for the LHSAA’s largest schools and some schools that opt to play up in classification.

This proposal is expected to be amended to tweak some points. An enrollment-multiplier it would use to classify private schools may be one of those points. Whether schools would be allowed to play up in class in individual sports instead of all sports could also be part of the discussion.

Once the area meetings are done, LHSAA principals will have eight days before advancing to the LHSAA’s version of the “final” — the Jan. 30 general assembly vote. Instead of a game plan, principals are charged with making the right moves to govern an organization of nearly 390 schools.

The process seems a whole lot different than the games we cover. Perhaps not so much. This time the winner will have the most votes, not points.