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

 

There will be split-related options — four of them — when LHSAA member principals gather for a special-called meeting at 11 a.m. June 8 at the Crowne Plaza.

The LHSAA released a four-item agenda Wednesday, a week ahead of the meeting called to give principals a chance to revisit an expanded split plan approved in January.

At least 25 percent of the LHSAA’s 401 principals must attend the meeting to bring about a vote on plans that ultimately address more than just that January vote that expanded the split playoffs to include boys/girls basketball, softball and baseball. The LHSAA split its championships for football in 2013.

A hybrid proposal introduced by the LHSAA’s school relations committee at an executive committee meeting in April was originally scheduled to be the only item on the agenda. LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee, with approval from the executive committee, opened the process so that others could submit proposals.

The hybrid plan takes elements of the rural/metro schools plan introduced by LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine and LHSCA Director Terence Williams before the January vote.

It brings football back together for Classes 5A and 4A only and combines the LHSAA’s smallest classes, B and C. Teams in Classes 3A, 2A and 1A would compete for rural/metro titles in football, basketball, baseball and softball. Teams in 5A, 4A, B and C would continue to compete together. The rural/metro division would be different than the select/nonselect designations that currently splits the schools.

The simplest alternate plan is from Mandeville Principal Bruce Bundy. It scraps the select/nonselect procedures and calls for the enrollment of all select schools to be multiplied by 1.5 before those schools are placed into classes.

Ruston Principal Ricky Durrett has a plan that calls for eight classes, adding a 6A. It also requires schools that get 25 percent or more of their enrollment from outside a traditional LHSAA-assigned attendance zone to have their enrollment numbers multiplied by 1.5.

Durrett’s plan calls for 6A to consist of the largest football-playing schools, but also allows for schools to play up to 6A in all sports. The plan from the Ruston principal also gives the LHSAA executive committee the power to classify schools in sports in which there aren’t enough teams for six classes.

A fourth plan from two principals, Iowa’s Mike Oakley and Vinton’s Mitch Manuel, calls for five classes and keeps the select/nonselect elements with schools competing together in district play.

Football schools would be divided into four equal or nearly equal groups. It also combines B-C into a new 1A and moves football-playing 1A schools to 2A.

The Oakley-Manuel plan calls for four football nonselect or traditional public school football classes and three football divisions for select schools, the group made up of private schools, some charter schools, magnet schools and laboratory schools.

In boys/girls basketball, baseball and softball, schools would be divided into five nonselect classes and four select divisions.