Finding a simple way to describe what transpired over the past three days for the LHSAA isn’t easy. Here’s an analogy those with basic bartending skills should get.
Take a ground-breaking plan straight up. Then add the ultimate twist of irony.
It’s no secret the LHSAA has been tinkering with its own version of the metropolitan-rural proposal for dividing schools into football playoff groups. Executive Director Eddie Bonine teamed up with LHSCA Director Terence Williams to present the plan to the executive committee on Wednesday.
Executive committee members chose not to simply endorse it. Instead, they’re compiling a list of questions and suggested changes to be submitted this week.
All things considered, this was expected. Change is never easy, and finding a way to solve the LHSAA’s public versus private school issues that led to split football championships is major. It is the largest single challenge the LHSAA has faced in the past 25 years.
What wasn’t expected was an LHSAA ruling released late Friday that confirmed three Shreveport area schools — C.E. Byrd, Huntington and Southwood — all face postseason bans, perhaps in multiple sports.
Why? Because a change from a block schedule to a seven-class schedule this year left those Caddo Parish schools with some instances where student/athletes were involved in multiple athletic physical education classes.
This is a big problem because the LHSAA passed a rule that prohibits students from taking multiple athletic physical education classes.
Now here’s your irony. That’s three public schools caught in a trap that was supposed to stop private schools from gaining an unfair advantage through extra practice time.
Obviously, the Caddo Parish schools plan to appeal. The LHSAA ruling stated a list of sports involved was still being compiled. The Shreveport Times reported Byrd’s fourth-seeded football team and Southwood’s girls basketball team, a traditional power, could be among the programs banned from the postseason.
Those who wanted Bonine to come in and wow them with tough penalty rulings that punished the “cheaters” got a wow. I’ll venture to say it wasn’t the wow factor they were looking for.
There are a couple of things the average sports fan needs to know about Bonine, if you don’t already. He believes in completing tasks. He was charged to enforce rules and come up with a plan to resolve split issues by the LHSAA membership.
And so there you have it. There’s a plan on the table for the executive committee and the task force charged with developing solutions for the split to digest. They’ll have until Nov. 15 to put some version of it on the agenda for the January convention.
I expect that to happen, and I also expect at least one proposal to split the association in all sports to be submitted.
Since this is uncharted territory, I’m not sure what to expect when the Caddo schools appeal. I can certainly see their point of view and desire to see this issue go away.
Is this the right time for the LHSAA to draw a line in the sand and say no one crosses? Or will an exception be granted? The thing about exceptions is that everyone thinks he or she deserves one these days.
Crafting that perfect cocktail can be tough. Making precedent-setting decisions is much tougher. Ask the LHSAA.