With little fanfare, the LHSAA executive committee announced the list of teams opting to play up in classification and released a preliminary districting plan last week.
The fact John Curtis and Evangel Christian were among those deciding to play up to Class 5A in all sports was an attention-grabber.
How those moves impact the future of the LHSAA and its public/private schools issues remains to be seen. But I look for the real games to begin in the weeks ahead. And, no, I’m not talking about basketball playoff games either.
Think about the classification process and beyond to incoming Executive Director Eddie Bonine’s “Think Tank” committee.
There’s perhaps little to argue about when it comes to where Curtis and Evangel are placed in 5A districts. It makes sense for Curtis to be placed in the New Orleans-based Catholic League. Evangel is in the Shreveport area’s 5A district.
Expect plenty of discussion involving districts across the state. There always is. The LHSAA’s districting process brings out the lobbyist in many LHSAA principals.
It’s not just about whom you play. More than not, it’s about who schools don’t want to play. For some, lobbying efforts began at the LHSAA convention last month.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a plan that would put Curtis and Evangel in other districts.
Why? Why not? The second LHSAA classification meeting Feb. 25 gives member schools the chance to voice their concerns and tell the executive committee what they would like to see.
Schools have until Monday to submit an appeal. Some appeals lead to districting changes, but many do not. Travel distances and the desire to be placed with schools that have a “similar makeup” are often cited.
Examples of each are scheduled to be submitted by Baton Rouge area schools.
The current LHSAA plan has a 10-team Class 2A district. One planned appeal would conveniently put current 6-2A boys basketball powers Episcopal and Dunham in a district away from the big new kid coming to the 2A block, Madison Prep. Of course, MPA was a Division IV semifinalist in football, too.
Another planned appeal would place all East Baton Rouge Parish 5A schools together and lump suburban schools in Livingston and Ascension Parishes together.
The idea is to cut travel. The travel distance to get from Broadmoor to Zachary is longer than from Broadmoor to Dutchtown. Traffic is a factor, but that’s seldom taken into account when the LHSAA makes its decisions.
Those moves to play up by Curtis and Evangel are seen by some as a mystical “olive branch” that could bring LHSAA schools back together. It could, but I’m not counting on it just yet.
Call it the “genie’s out of the bottle” syndrome. Schools and coaches in other sports have seen the success football schools have had with the select/nonselect championships. Whether they’re a public or private school, they want a piece of the pie.
As I had one coach tell me not long ago, “I know (fill-in-the-blank) doesn’t cheat, but other teams are tired of losing to them.”