Time for LHSAA to pick up pieces, start planning _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine speaks to principals before voting on proposals at the LHSAA convention on Friday in Baton Rouge.

There’s a popular new comedy show called “Life in Pieces.” I’ve never seen it, but the reviews are good.

The reviews are pointedly mixed on the LHSAA’s real-life version.

Some believe the LHSAA’s Friday vote to expand its select/nonselect playoff split beyond football is the greatest thing ever. Others are convinced it will seriously damage or destroy the organization.

There’s not much middle ground. It seems those who care about high school sports are either for it or against it.

These factors make the job of trying to bring both sides together something akin to a “Mission Impossible” for Executive Director Eddie Bonine and the LHSAA’s leaders in the days, weeks and months ahead.

“When will the Civil War would start?” I was asked on Saturday. I’d say the “war” is over for the select and nonselect schools. The majority ruled by a 182-120 margin to add boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and softball to the split.

Unless there is legislative or legal intervention, all that’s left to do is pick up the pieces while planning for more separate championships.

Yes, it was a bit surreal to listen to Many Principal Norman Booker say it was never his intention to tear the association apart after his proposal to expand the split passed. Booker also encouraged all schools to work together — now.

And yes, saying you don’t want to tear something apart after you’ve cut it into championship pieces does seem like a contradiction, but so be it. This whole mess has been one contradiction after another. And now there will be one trophy after another.

How the LHSAA picks up the pieces and prepares for whatever lies in the future is what’s important now. Major choices must be made.

When you take all the emotion out of it, I see three options, though there may be others. Here they are:

Option 1: The schools find a way to work within the split that was just passed.

Option 2: Some or maybe most select schools choose to leave the LHSAA. They form their own association or join others.

Option 3: Form two branches within the LHSAA for select and nonselect schools. These entities would be separate and would not play each other.

Keep these other points in mind.

It’s the majority’s choice not to find a solution to the select/nonselect problems other than throwing trophies around. Expect some fallout down the road.

What happens as education continues to evolve with more charter schools and other models we don’t know about yet? Where do you put those schools? What happens if your school system mandates magnet schools?

Assuming that the split expands to all sports, how do you handle it? The LHSAA already does 109 championship events and Friday’s vote added 20 more. Will there be enough venues and officials for all those events? Your school might need to host one.

What about the level playing field everyone wants so badly? Sorry folks, it’s an illusion.

On every level someone wins and someone loses. Some win more than others.

What the LHSAA has now is two playing fields. Will we need to add a third in another 10 years?

Just another piece to consider.