Caddo Parish schools get reprieve, will not receive playoff bans _lowres


Remember those butterflies in your stomach when you were in school and you were called to the principal’s office?

You didn’t think you were in trouble, but you weren’t quite sure.

Well, that’s probably how coaches in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association will be feeling Thursday and Friday as they head to the principals’ office, which for the next two days is the Crown Plaza in Baton Rouge.

That is the site of the LHSAA annual convention.

It is there that principals from all across the state will vote on some critical issues that could affect the LHSAA as we currently know it.

The biggest issue, one we have dwelled on over and over for two years, is what to do with the select (private) and nonselect (public) playoffs.

Here is a look at some of the proposals that are up for a vote regarding that key issue.

Currently, there are nine football state championships for football (five for nonselect schools and four for select schools).

One of the proposals, written by Many High School principal Norman Booker III, would extend this format to baseball, softball and basketball.

This would create some scheduling nightmares for the state tournaments in some of those sports.

The facilities used last year and this year (Sulphur for baseball and softball and McNeese State for basketball) would have a hard time accommodating the additional teams required for that many state championships. Unless, of course, the tournaments are spread over two weekends like they were in December for football. Either that or they would need to played at different facilities instead of all at one place.

Another danger in this is that some of the state championships could possible lose title sponsors. Companies that sponsor the state title games have the rights to withdraw their sponsorships if the playoff formats are altered.

A vote for this proposal could ultimately lead to not only split playoff formats, but split associations. The private schools would likely just branch off and start their own separate associations. I’m sure nobody would want that.

My vote: Two thumbs down.

A proposal from the LHSAA School Relations Committee would do away with select and nonselect schools in the larger classifications (Classes 5A and 4A) and keep the split in the lower three classifications.

A vote for this proposal would at least be a step in the right direction of unifying the association. Schools in the Catholic League, for example, would get to compete against the other large schools in the state.

This way, we would have known if Jesuit or Acadiana was the true Class 5A state champion this past season.

My vote: This is a start. One thumb up. One thumb down.

A third proposal would do away with the split format and everyone would play football together, but it would add a sixth classification.

The 32 largest schools would be in Class 6A, along with any other schools that chose to play up in classification. The other schools would be equally divided to make up the other five classifications.

Having come from a state that went from five classifications to six classifications, this could work. Here, you would be going from nine football classifications to six classifications and there would be no more public vs. private.

My vote: Two thumbs up.

Another possibility, of course, is that these proposals are tabled until later. That would give incoming LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine a chance to assess the situation and come up with a plan: a plan that is in the best interest of the kids and all the schools.

“We’re trying to move forward,” Bonine said last week at a district meeting in Kenner.

Here’s hoping the principals try to move forward as well.

It’s in their hands.