Will you look at that?
Time got away from us again, and yet another high school sports year is over. Before you know it, we’ll be gearing up for 2014-15.
Champions and seasons do come and go, but the two things you can count on in life and sports are the passage of time and change.
Change left a huge imprint on Louisiana High School Athletic Association sports in 2013-14. The organization had its first split football championships in which schools were divided into select (private, some magnet, lab and some charter schools) and nonselect schools (traditional public schools) groups for the playoffs.
There were also key venue and format changes. The LHSAA scrapped its combined basketball tournaments for boys and girls after two years to return to separate tourneys amid mixed reviews.
Some of the mixed reviews were related to the LHSAA awarding both its basketball tournaments to Lake Charles for the first time. Though fans didn’t flock to Lake Charles, they did seem to embrace a new combined baseball tourney for all seven classes that was held in nearby Sulphur.
Of course, as far as championships go, the refrain is a familiar one. Your area teams win some and lose some.
As we turn the page to 2014-15, I wish I could say we’ll be starting with a clean slate. The ever-present friction between public and private schools is actually just one of the key issues facing the LHSAA. Now there are legal and legislative concerns that no one could have predicted two months ago.
It’s one thing to question the structure of the LHSAA, saying public and private schools no longer belong together in competition. Those battles are fought within the LHSAA and its schools.
It’s another thing entirely to have the LHSAA’s rules and rulings overturned by legal and legislative means. Right now, no one can say how all these factors will impact the future.
The lawsuits that put Livonia back into the baseball playoffs after the Wildcats were sanctioned for using a player who was ruled ineligible and legislation designed to help Episcopal’s Clement Mubungirwa gain eligibility as a 19-year-old don’t put the LHSAA in a positive light or a position of power right now.
Those who want to bash Episcopal for being a private school and using every means available to prevail, please remember that Livonia is a public high school that did much the same thing. Sorry folks, the door swings both ways on this one.
Both groups sought ways to help their student-athletes. That’s a right I’ll always defend. And I’ll also defend the LHSAA has a right to defend its rules and bylaws.
So where does all of this leave us as 2014-15 season approaches? Likely with more change on the horizon.