LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine was consistent in his presentation to the House Education Committee on Monday, telling the group that the LHSAA never said it would cancel its sports seasons.
However, Bonine also reinforced two other important points: Contact football practices and games cannot begin until the LHSAA goes past Phase 3 and on to Phase 4 of its reopening and that flipping fall and spring seasons has been discussed but is not the LHSAA’s first option in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The differences in phases is notable. Bonine gave committee members a chart that included four phases, based on a combination of guidelines from the White House, CDC and National Federation of High Schools. Louisiana remains in Phase 2 of its reopening by order of Gov. John Bel Edwards until at least July 24.
The LHSAA has a set of four phases different from the state and federal governments, which only have three phases.
The LHSAA's Phase 3 allows for 7-on-7 limited inter-school contact drills for football teams without helmet and shoulder pads. The LHSAA's Phase 4 allows for full contact and collisions using helmet and shoulder pads along with scrimmages against other teams.
Football coaches at member schools have been aware of the LHSAA's phased approach. Schools are in summer rules now that are not governed by the LHSAA and are scheduled to move to fall practice rules for all fall sports on Aug. 10.
Bonine was one of several speakers who appeared before the House committee on Monday. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s new Superintendent of Education and Sandy Holloway, the president of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, addressed plans for the opening of schools.
When asked about spectators and fall sports, Bonine said those decisions would be made in cooperation with individual school districts.
This is a developing story. More details to come.