No big reveal emerged at Thursday’s LHSAA executive committee meeting. But executive director Eddie Bonine said member schools will receive revised portions of the LHSAA handbook, along with the agenda for the January convention by late next week.
It may not sound like a game-changer, but Bonine said he believes it will be, as the LHSAA moves toward a possible resolution of its select/nonselect schools split that began in 2013.
“In June, this office was charged with finding a way to bring the association back together or prevent more of a split. Before we could do that, we had to address the pieces that dealt with eligibility and some other things in the handbook,” Bonine said after the meeting at the LHSAA office. “We believe the adjustments made can level the playing field and make a large majority of schools happy. We feel like there is a real chance to bring things back together.”
In closed sessions Wednesday and Thursday, the executive committee worked with LHSAA attorney Mark Boyer and constitutional lawyer Amy Lowe to sift through 263 pages that included 134 proposals for the January convention and portions of the LHSAA handbook.
The updated handbook and the remaining 61 agenda proposals will be up for approval at the LHSAA convention set for Jan. 29-31 at the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge.
Bonine originally thought it would be possible to get the agenda/handbook information out to schools this week but given the scope of the project, the executive committee set Nov. 15 as the deadline. Bonine credited his staff, the committee and LHSAA president Bruce Bundy of Mandeville for their roles in the process.
“What we did yesterday and today has never been done before in this association. What we accomplished is in the best interest of this association and student-athletes,” Bonine said. “The day I got here (in 2015), I was told the book (LHSAA constitution and bylaws) needed to be cleaned up because of conflicts and misinterpretations. It was a good book, but it had been piece-milled over time. It was the add-ons to some rules that made them difficult to defend. Now that has been done.”
Staff changes, meeting notes
Introductions of two new staff members and goodbyes for two others also was a part of the meeting.
LHSAA director of technology Doug Catanzaro and director of finance Justine Buckland are set to leave the LHSAA later this month for other positions.
Assistant director Michael Federico and marketing general manager Wes Baylor were introduced. Federico takes over for Fallon Buckner, who resigned in August. Baylor replaces Bert Bahlinger, who has retired.
• The committee approved raising tickets prices for its soccer championships to $13 to help offset an additional $8,000 charge. Southeastern Louisiana University is the host site.
• Closed-door appeals by Lafayette Christian, Ebarb and Captain Shreve were referred back to Bonine for a final decision. He was given 48 hours to render rulings that will sent to the schools Monday.
• Catholic-New Iberia Principal Stella Arabie appeared before the committee at the start of the meeting to ask a series of questions in advance of the select schools’ stand-alone football title games set for Dec. 5-7 at sites that will be determined through the playoff process.
Arabie’s posed questions about on-site ticket processes, which sites can be used if schools mutually agree and involvement/contact information for presenting sponsors. Bonine said he would provide a written response.