Bishops: Haven't 'closed door' on LHSAA, looking at options after select/nonselect schools championships vote _lowres


Regardless of what the critics think of Thursday’s LHSAA executive committee meeting, give credit to the School Relations Committee for one huge thing.

The School Relations Committee fashioned a compromise by a one-vote margin that many people, including this writer, didn’t think was possible after three years of select/nonselect school conflicts.

School Relations Committee chairman Mike Boyer of Teurlings Catholic called it a “hybrid” plan. Others called it a “discriminatory” plan.

Both labels do apply, depending on your point of view. Given the way we love food in Louisiana, I think it would be fair to call it a gumbo plan. Or maybe even a pizza plan.

Unless enough member-schools principals come to the table for the special-called meeting, wanting to change the split playoffs format in some way the LHSAA will remain stuck between a rock and a hard place. The date for that meeting is still pending.

Here are some cold, hard facts. The LHSAA is not the organization it was before the first playoff split for football passed in 2013. Once you change the way you do business, it’s difficult to go back, especially when the majority likes the change.

Like it or not, awarding more state championships makes a lot of people happy. There’s a reason for this which has nothing to do with the LHSAA. Let me explain.

I checked one social feed late last Sunday night and ran across at least five pictures of travel-baseball teams being awarded rings for winning or placing in tournaments. Players ages 12 and under got rings before the Kansas City Royals got their World Series rings.

Pretty wild stuff, right? It’s becoming the norm.

Understand that Louisiana is not alone in trying to figure out how everything fits. Other states have had or are having their own issues trying to keep public schools, private schools, charter schools and magnet schools under one umbrella.

Some states, like Arkansas, apply a multiplier to the enrollment numbers for private/charter schools located in large cities.

There’s also a success factor in which schools move up in classification in a given sport based on success over a two-year or four-year period.

The jury is still out on many of these. The School Relations Committee approach combines three ingredients. It reunites schools in Class 5A and 4A for football. Select/nonselect schools will play together in all sports in those two classes. So will the 71 schools in Classes B-C, which would be combined as a second component of the plan.

The third part was a key selling point for many. It takes the rural schools-metro schools plan championed by the LHSAA before the January convention and lets schools use it in the expanded split sports of boys/girls basketball, baseball and softball voted on in January.

Remember, at least for now, schools in all other LHSAA sports will still compete together.

Separating schools on a rural-metro basis rather than select/nonselect can be seen as another form of discrimination. I’ve already had one coach point out a possible reverse discrimination.

This coach thinks 3A/2A/1A schools get an advantage because there will be six rural-metro champions compared to just four in 5A-4A. He thinks parents who want trophies will move their children there.

There’s a lot to consider and perhaps not much time to do it. Ideally, the special-called meeting should be held before the end of May, thus appeasing legislators who are watching closely. If the meeting is in June, the possibility of legislative intervention looms.

In the past two days, I’ve talked to people offering alternatives to the School Relations Plan. This hybrid plan is like Louisiana; it’s unique and it may be amended. For now, this is it.

Will enough principals buy into it? That, like the future of the LHSAA, remains unclear.