After hearing the reasons why its current split football championships and plans to expand the split to other sports were unconstitutional from its attorney and parliamentarian, the LHSAA’s executive committee took two unusual actions on Wednesday afternoon.
The committee voted to approve the current split for five football classes and four football divisions after the fact. That vote cleared the way for a vote on a proposal by Many Principal Norman Booker that would expand the split to include basketball, baseball and softball for all classes starting this spring on Friday.
However, the committee rejected a proposal that would allow Class 2A to vote for its own split.
At an LHSAA press conference two weeks ago, LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine announced that a new legal opinion deemed the split passed for football in 2013 to be unconstitutional.
A crowd of approximately 70 coaches and administrators were on hand for the meeting held at the LHSAA office.
Principal Sharon Clark of Sophie B. Wright said she voted against the split in 2013 but made the proposal to approve the current split as a way of recognizing two past votes by membership to approve the split.
LHSAA attorney Mark Boyer and Parliamentarian Mark Boyer explained the procedures that made the split unconstitutional when it was voted on. The original split was deemed unconstitutional in an opinion by Boyer two weeks ago because it did not go through the proper channels before it was voted on.
That led to a heated debate among those in the room who favor the split, which passed with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2013 and a year later when specific divisions were reviewed.
Ouachita’s Todd Guice balked at the notion that there was any ulterior motives by either Boyer or LeJeune, the Superintendent of Jefferson Davis Parish.
Seeking direction, LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee asked for a proposal that would allow the group to move forward. Clark’s proposal then passed and Booker spoke to the committee.
Booker’s split proposal was later amended to include Class B-C schools and would include seven nonselect classes and five select divisions.
The committee then rejected a proposal by 2A committee member Tommy Hodges asking that 2A principals be allowed to vote on a split of its own in the four major sports during its Thursday afternoon meeting.
LeJeune noted that the 2A vote wouldn’t be constitutional because one class couldn’t pass give itself something other classes wouldn’t have.
LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine had asked that things be put on hold and that the current split be allowed to go on. Airline Principal Jason Rowland, a 5A representative, spoke against another delay in making a decision on the split, saying it is becoming a trust issue for many schools.