Discussion about rules and procedures in advance of Wednesday’s special-called meeting for all principals aren’t scheduled until Tuesday.
Executive committee members learned that the impact of its select/nonselect schools issues could hit the LHSAA where some say it really hurts — the pocket book — during the first day of the LHSAA’s summer meeting.
Marketing Director Mitch Small told the committee that current sponsors and potential sponsors now have more questions about the LHSAA’s split championships.
“It didn’t used to be a factor,” Small said during his annual report. “But as we go out and make presentations to potential sponsors and talk to current sponsors, they want to know about it. People are watching what happens.”
Small’s report was one of several on Monday as the summer meeting opened at the LHSAA office. The meeting resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday with appeals and the awarding bids to host cheerleading and golf events.
Specific discussion about the 11 a.m. Wednesday meeting at the Crowne Plaza also is set. The special meeting is designed to give member principals a chance to vote on alternatives to the plan passed in January that expands the split into 12 championships for boys/girls basketball, baseball and softball. The LHSAA split into nine select/nonselect football championships in 2013.
Small told the committee the LHSAA is losing approximately $250,000 in sponsorships. Blue Cross and Blue Shield won’t renew a three-year package sponsorship with several entities that centered on the affordable care act.
Another sponsor, J.C. Fodale Energy declared bankruptcy, Small noted, while The Times-Picayune/Nola.com also is not renewing its sponsorship. The flip-side of the equation is that Baden and Coca-Cola remain as major sponsors along with the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Small also reminded the committee that the Sugar Bowl could opt out of its deal based on the split.
“I felt like it was a good meeting,” LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said. “We got through some reports and had discussions about things we needed to talk about. There will be more tomorrow.”
In addition to hearing marketing and finance reports, the executive committee also approved a trimmed down budget. Bonine won’t move forward with filling a fourth assistant director’s position that was approved in January. The finance report also noted that a $1.9 million payment on the principle of the mortgage on the LHSAA building also will reduce future payments significantly.
“It’s a very tough time economically for whatever reason that may be,” LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic said. “We’ve got some tough economic issues. I need to commend Mr. Bonine for creating a new budget within those constraints.
“He was willing to realize he can’t have a fourth assistant at this time and is going to realign his staff to handle all duties. That’s a credit to him and the staff.”
The status of championship venues and championships was discussed. Bonine told the committee that Sulphur Parks and Recreation staff has said it would be “impossible” for its venues to host softball and baseball championships over four straight weekends, a likely outcome if the January plan is put into action.
Bonine also said softball coaches have requested that the quarterfinals not be cut from their tournament.