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Louisiana High School Athletic Association executive director Eddie Bonine speaks at a media luncheon on July 26, 2018. 

The LHSAA executive committee’s fall meeting is typically a good housekeeping event that covers many topics. It will be more of the same — with a twist of urgency this time.

Members of the LHSAA board will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the LHSAA office looking to ratify moves that allow teams to go ahead with the start of high school football Oct. 8-10.

LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine will ask the committee to approve full-contact practices for football this week ahead of the season openers, which were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The first thing we are going to do is approve what was decided last week at the legislature, which is contact for football in Phase 2,” Bonine said. “It won’t exactly be a rubber stamp vote, but it should be close because 99% of the board knew what we were doing last week before it happened.

“We’ve heard some people are planning to come to the meeting to appear before the board. To be honest with you, that won't be necessary.”

An opinion rendered by Attorney General Jeff Landry last week paved the way for the LHSAA to begin full-contact drills in Phase 2 of Louisiana's COVID-19 reopening without concerns of liability.

The plan to move forward will not be the only agenda item. The executive committee also begin discussions on football playoff structure that will extend through December.

LHSCA director Eric Held cautioned those who posted playoff plans on social media over the weekend, telling them that no dates are final until the executive committee approves them.

Bonine told legislators Friday that the LHSAA plans to move forward with an eight-game football regular season and four playoff rounds. Bonine said the football playoff format financial reports and penalty ruling appeals will be part of the executive session.

Tulane’s Dr. Greg Stewart will provide a sports medicine advisory committee update and lobbyist Tom Spradley will offer a legislative report in open session. Bonine said the playoff format could be finalized Wednesday, but might completed after the meeting.

“I don’t want to put (the playoff format) on a white board and discuss it openly until we have a good idea what direction we want to move with it,” Bonine said.

A report on the damage and aftermath of Hurricane Laura will be part of Bonine’s executive director’s report. As of last week, 179 of the LHSAA’s 404 schools reported damage from the storm.

“We are still hearing from a lot of schools,” Bonine said. “There are school board meeting this week in multiple parishes where there was significant storm damage. We expect to more about what some schools will be doing after those meetings.”

After the executive session, Bonine said staff reports, COVID-19 discussions, a report on the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony delayed last spring and discussions on select school title-game venues also will take place.


Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com