What’s wrong with the LHSAA? I’ve heard that one a lot lately.
No need to offer a penny for somebody’s thoughts. There’s a steady stream of people on both sides of the select/nonselect issue who are more than happy to share.
Some wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for the LHSAA right now. Yet here we are, facing yet another showdown.
A special-called meeting set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza gives member principals the chance to stay the course or chart a route away from January’s vote to have 12 championships each in boys/girls basketball, baseball and softball.
Should principals vote to do so. There are four possible alternatives and a “none of these” option.
We’ve all heard the fiery rhetoric on both sides since before football split in 2013. That’s my cue to add fuel to the fire with 11 words.
The LHSAA is a youth/teen sports organization with adult problems.
Don’t believe me? Ask a few student-athletes and see what they say.
One basketball player I talked to at a summer-league game said he didn’t know the football playoffs were split until his team made it and he saw no private schools on the bracket. Another talked about wanting to play the best to be the best.
The second statement was a variation on an old cliché. Another cliché that comes to mind is “There’s no ‘I’ in team.”
Over the years, we’ve heard school administrators and coaches trumpet the unfair advantage select schools and their teams have for (fill in the blank) reasons.
I’m not foolish enough to believe there isn’t recruiting by both select and nonselect schools. Both sides concede that. Enforcement of rules is a big issue. So is parental choice.
Stories about athletes having their tuition paid or reduced are tough, perhaps impossible, to prove. I believe it happens. The emergence of powerful charter schools, where students don’t pay tuition, adds another layer to cut through.
This is where the “I” comes in once again. The LHSAA represents all the individual student/athletes and is supposed to look out for their interests. For schools and administrators, the “I” often stands for my team and my school.
Bottom line: Everyone wants what they want, which is part of the reasons why we’re at a crossroads once again. A delicate balance is required to serve both groups. I’m not sure that’s possible with so many other elements in play. I’m not just referring to the watered-down version of championships the media so dislikes.
Awarding championships adds to the logistics of putting on state events. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine told the executive committee Monday that the Sulphur Parks and Recreation department has said it would be virtually impossible for its staff to host championship events on four spring weekends.
Why? SPAR relies on volunteers for much of its workforce for baseball and softball. Close to 80 percent of schools would make the playoffs.
There may be financial ramifications, too. A downturn in the economy played a role in the loss of three key sponsors. New prospects and the top sponsors want to know how the split will go.
That’s a lot of adult problems. There are no easy answers, and most alternatives sound childish. With split championships, nonselect schools take their ball and go to separate fields to decide their titles. Should select schools pull out of the LHSAA if the split widens, they’ll be taking their ball and going to a new home to decide theirs.
What’s wrong with the LHSAA? Take your pick.
The principals get to make theirs again Wednesday. I wonder what would happen if we let some student-athletes vote, too.