“Learn from history or you’re doomed to repeat it.”
Former pro wrestler and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said it.
But can the Louisiana High School Athletic Association actually do it? It’s a fair question as the LHSAA executive committee begins its annual summer meeting at 8 a.m. Monday at the LHSAA office.
We’ve seen the key issues and problems before. In some cases we’ve seen them many times.
Last week’s first LHSAA Task Force meeting to address select/nonselect school issues got high marks from the spokesmen who addressed the media afterward. I like that new Executive Director Eddie Bonine talks about finding solutions to the issues that threaten to split the 75-year-old organization apart.
Solutions sound better than compromises. A compromise insinuates that someone has to give up something. And we all know how tough that is in our me-centric society.
We’ve heard much of this before. Back in 1996-97, it was public schools vs. private schools. Now the select/nonselect issues have expanded to include laboratory schools, many charter schools and magnet schools.
We’ve seen the conflicts come to a vote before, including in 2013 when LHSAA member principals voted to split football championships along select/nonselect guidelines.
The same can be said for the stalemate between the LHSAA and the Louisiana High School Officials Association.
There have been two notable conflicts between member schools and officials over the past nine years, including a strike by some basketball officials four years ago.
The LHSAA has noted multiple times that its officials in some sports rank among the nation’s lowest paid and are evaluated more than officials in other states. Member principals and coaches insist officials need to be better at their craft before getting a raise.
Yet another standoff and instance in which history seems to keep repeating itself. Revisiting key issues every few years proves two points the LHSAA membership needs to understand and act on.
The state of education is evolving so quickly it ushers in new principals who are rightfully more focused on education. They don’t know as much about athletics, let alone the LHSAA’s back story.
Past remedies for some key issues have been the high school sports equivalent of putting a bandage on a torn ACL. No corrective surgery, just a bandage. It seemed positive at the time but didn’t pan out long term for whatever reason.
It has been nearly three months since Bonine took over the LHSAA’s top job full time. Now the ball is in his court, and there is a lengthy amount of time set aside Monday to discuss 22 topics, including whether the LHSAA’s wrestling tournament should go to Bossier City as the committee voted in March.
Wrestling coaches say the move is wrong for the sport. North Louisiana desperately wants its “share” of championship events, starting with wrestling even though less than 15 wrestling schools are located above the Interstate 10 corridor. Yep, been there, done that.
Two-year bids for several sports, including basketball, also will be awarded.
There’s a learning curve that needs to be scaled, sooner rather than later. My advice is simple. Strap on some boots and start climbing. Your student-athletes are counting on you.