Robin Fambrough: In heated LHSAA select, non-select debate, can powerful open letter from past president make a difference? _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Todd Guice of Ouachita speaks on a proposal at the LHSAA annual meeting.

Plenty of folks on both sides of the LHSAA’s select/nonselect issues haven’t been shy about expressing their views.

For months, I’ve wondered when or if a respected spokesman would come forward urging a compromise. Former LHSAA President Todd Guice did that Monday when he penned an open letter to the principals.

LHSAA Open Letter

Some may ask, ‘Why should we care?’ The answer is because Guice, the former principal at Ouachita Parish High and current LHSAA executive committee member, has been on both sides of this issue.

In 2013, he voted for the split of the LHSAA’s football championships along select/nonselect lines. After that vote, Guice got the chance to travel the state and see how the education process differs in public and private schools across the state.

So when it came time for the LHSAA’s executive committee to cast its votes on the plan to extend the split to basketball, baseball and softball, Guice flipped his vote from a yes to a no. The executive committee’s vote was 15-10 against expanding the split.

Guice’s change of heart/philosophy and the reasons for it are worth reading. He implores principals to find a way to compromise before the Louisiana Legislature forces a change through Rep. Kirk Talbot’s House Bill 863 or some other legislation does it for them.

One key theory that made the rounds after Executive Director Eddie Bonine took over in March 2015 was more public schools were unhappy with the split, something January’s vote to expand the split did not bear out.

On one hand, there have been public school/select leaders who have championed the split and stating their reasons why the teams should play for separate championship honors.

On the other, there are private schools on the select side seeking a way to keep the LHSAA intact, noting that a complete split might be the next step.

Can Guice’s letter make a difference? We’ll see in the days and weeks ahead, starting with the LHSAA executive committee meeting set for April 14.