It was almost all business for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s executive committee on Wednesday.

There were reports and a budget was approved. Incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine’s four-year contract was approved along with 2015-16 membership for six schools. A new legal firm was hired.

Speculation about split/classification-related proposals and other matters that member principals are scheduled to vote on Friday was done primarily in the hallways of the Crowne Plaza as the LHSAA’s annual convention began with an executive committee meeting. Most principals arrive Thursday for 3 p.m. class meetings.

LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee asked about reactions to the executive committee opening its meeting with an adjusted budget for 2015 including a deficit of approximately $114,000 based on 2014 fall championship events and projections from 2015 events.

Even then, talk came back to one key question — whether or not member principals will give Bonine time to fashion a solution to its public vs. private school issues, vote in favor of expanding the split beyond its football champion or approve a plan that would reunite schools.

“It’s still my desire that everybody have patience,” Bonnaffee said. “By traveling through the area meetings I’ve learned to appreciate his (Bonine’s) expertise, the experience he has and the knowledge he has. I’ve also learned he doesn’t have a dog in the fight, and he can be objective and not emotional. Maybe we can get some positive direction.”

Bonine, who officially begins work March 1, is set to be the keynote speaker for Thursday’s Coca-Cola Convention Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. His day Wednesday was split between the executive committee meeting, speaking to the Louisiana High School Athletic Directors Association, greeting Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame inductees and greeting equipment vendors. Bonine did offer some thoughts on what could happen during the 9 a.m. Friday general assembly vote.

“Right now, based on the information I have, it seems as though the proposals are going to go to the floor for a vote,” Bonine said. “OK. That’s the process you have. As far as people pulling proposals, I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’ll live with whatever decision is made and go from there.”

Bonine said he did not get the chance to meet face-to-face with Many Principal Norman Booker III, who has proposals that would extend the LHSAA’s split championships to include baseball, softball and basketball. Bonine said he would welcome the chance to talk with Booker on Thursday.

The committee meeting began with a review of the LHSAA’s financial report and approving an adjusted budget. The annual report before adjustments listed $4,472,300 in budgeted revenue and 4,429,550 in budgeted expenditures.

Legal expenses of approximately $600,000 over the past two years were cited as a key component in expenditures. St. Thomas More’s Richard Lavernge told the committee the $114,000 shortfall could rise or fall based on the revenue generated by spring events.

The committee approved membership for Lake Charles College Prep, Delta Charter School of Ferriday, D’Arbonne Woods Charter of Farmerville, Slaughter Community Charter, University Academy of Central Louisiana located in Alexandria and Monroe’s Vision Academy. Membership for all six schools is contingent on an LHSAA site visits.

The Boyer, Hebert, Abels and Angelle law firm was approved the LHSAA’s legal provider starting Feb. 6. The firm has offices in Denham Springs and Breaux Bridge.

Meeting notes

Assistant executive director B.J. Guzzardo told the committee the LHSAA has one more year remaining on its football championships contract with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Guzzardo said Superdome officials informed him that the LHSAA could host its 2015 football championships over one three-day weekend or two weekends. He said the LHSAA staff prefers two weekends.

  • Louisiana High School Coaches Association Director Gary Duhe said the LHSCA all-star soccer games will be played in conjunction with the LHSAA championships on Feb. 28 in New Orleans.
  • Northeast High was one of two schools that lost an appeal. NHS appealed a forfeit in boys basketball from the Zachary tournament last month. The Vikings could not play a Friday game because of the football playoffs and the game was recorded as a forfeit. Pine Prairie lost its appeal of sanctions for exceeding the number of games/tournaments in boys basketball.
  • The committee rejected Carver/Carver Collegiate’s request to play as one school for another two years.

Hall of Fame inductees

Former LSU standout Kevin Mawae, Notre Dame football coach Lewis Cook and former LHSAA assistant director/coach/administrator Rhonda Dreibelbis helped lead the LHSSHOF class inducted Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza.

Natchitoches Central basketball coach Emma Boozman, Ruston area administrator Dr. Gerald Cobb, softball player Candice Carnahan Jackson of Barbe High and football coach Laury Dupont of West St. John and Butch Stoker of Alexandria Senior High also were inducted.