A famous quote from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” starts with the phrase, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...”
Those words also sum up what I consider to be one of the weirdest three days in high school sports in recent memory.
It started with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association first classification meeting Wednesday and concluded Friday with the release of the LHSAA’s first districting plan and some bizarre events at bidistrict playoff games.
The LHSAA’s first classification meeting offered little drama, despite schools having the option to play above their enrollment-based class for the first time since 2004.
Sure, the plan won’t go into effect until next year. But it was not the event the media expected. Instead of coming to the meeting, respresentatives from many schools opted to stay away.
The fact football powers John Curtis and Evangel Christian opted to play up to Class 3A was greeted with raised eyebrows. The major players in the drama were not present.
But of course, the tone changed drastically on Friday when the LHSAA released its first preliminary districting plan. The plan has Curtis, listed in the Baton Rouge area’s 7-3A.
The LHSAA could have two more classification meetings before its final plan is approved and things could change.
And while it might help The Advocate’s attempts to merge coverage in Baton Rouge and New Orleans the 7-3A proposal seems odd.
Putting Curtis in 7-3A when there are two New Orleans area 3A districts makes little sense. The placement of Livonia in 6-3A instead of 7-3A seems odd, too. The Wildcats were previously part of the 7-3A league that includes Brusly, Port Allen, Donaldsonville, LaPlace’s St. Charles Catholic and Thibodaux’s E.D. White Catholic.
When asked about the districting plans, LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said the plans were subject to change and debate.
I also asked about the area’s 5A districts and St. James’ placement in a New Orleans 2A district instead of the new 6-2A with Baton Rouge teams. Remember, the other St. James Parish school, 4A Lutcher, is in a BR league.
Henderson said other options would be reviewed. And he said Baton Rouge’s 5A schools will get the chance to vote on whether schools should be mixed together or divided into groups for EBR and Ascension-Livingston.
But on Saturday, I called Henderson to ask specifically about the LHSAA’s involvement in the pregame issues between Live Oak High and Bossier City’s Parkway High. Henderson said he is asking both schools to submit reports on what happened in order to evaluate the situation.
An disagreement over warm-up time vs. a pre-game Parkway band performance led to Live Oak coach Tut Musmeche being handcuffed after Parkway Principal Nichole Bourgeois asked police to intervene.
Along with that, I talked to two coaches who detailed some postgame and in-game sportsmanship issues that the LHSAA may also be looking into.
Aren’t the football playoffs supposed to be the best of times for high school football in Louisiana? Hopefully, those good times start this week.