Many Prinicipal Norman Booker, legislator Kirk Talbot comment on LHSAA’s compromise playoffs proposal _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Many Principal Norman Booker

A compromise plan to implement the expanded select/nonselect championships approved in January and the LHSAA executive committee’s 11-10 Thursday vote to call a special meeting of all principals to consider it gave people plenty to talk about Friday.

Few have the vested interest Many Principal Norman Booker and Rep. Kirk Talbot.

Booker authored the original plan to expand the split to include boys/girls basketball, softball and baseball. Talbot, R-River Ridge, is viewed as one of the legislators looking to overturn it.

The duo offered different opinions on the “hybrid” compromise brokered by the School Relations Committee. The special-called meeting will be scheduled for May or June. Booker prefers a different method for an alternative. Talbot called the plan a possible step in the right direction and noted that he plans to amend his House Bill 863 to remove the terms “select/nonselect schools” from it.

Booker is part of the School Relations Committee and worked on the plan presented by Chairman Mike Boyer of Teurlings Catholic and Lutcher’s Tim Detillier on Thursday. However, he was unable to attend the executive committee meeting because of an all-district softball meeting. In addition to being the principal, Booker also is Many’s softball coach.

“It’s tough rely on a text to express your point of view or to have other people express that,” Booker said. “It would be foolish to think I would be part of something that would undermine a plan I authored.

“But I also have a tremendous amount of respect for all the people on the School Relations Committee. I think we were under the gun to get something done based on pressure from the Legislature and the timing of the executive committee meeting.

“I know you guys heard from Mr. (Jacob) Doyle and some others on why the plan wouldn’t work. I would like to see the executive committee look at what originally passed and try to come up with something.”

Boyer said the School Relations Committee was not instructed to come up with an alternative based on the original plan and said there wouldn’t be enough time for the committee to develop another one.

The School Relations plan reunites Class 5A/4A for football, uses the rural-metro plan to award championships in 3A, 2A and 1A and also combines the 71 schools in Classes B-C.

Talbot spoke to the executive committee along with Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall and had left the building before the School Relations Committee made its presentation. Talbot was sternly questioned about his motives for proposing HB 863, which in its current form would prohibit schools receiving public funds from belonging to an organization that divides its championships into select/nonselect groups.

“The plan presented yesterday sounds like it could be promising,” Talbot said. “I heard some things about it last night and have talked to a few people but haven’t yet been able to speak with my headmaster (at St. Martin’s).

“I’ll put it (HB 863) on the agenda for the House next week, and I’m planning to take the select/nonselect out and stick to the more general terms of discrimination. The thing I want is for the schools to play each other.”