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LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine speaks in the House Education Committee about starting football games.

Stories about frigid winter weather leading to frozen pipes that burst were pretty common this week in Louisiana.

The story of how broken pipes at LSU led to the LHSAA’s Indoor Track Championships being postponed from Saturday to Sunday — a move the LHSAA tried to negotiate earlier in the week — takes things to a new level.

“We did our diligence on this. We reached out and discussed options early on,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said. “There was a conflict with the contract LSU has with the timing company.

“Then pipes broke and school was closed today (Friday). We were informed late yesterday (Thursday) that LSU could not host the meet Saturday because they could not set up for it on Friday. From there, we were able to work it out to have the meet Sunday after all.”

The one-day, two-division meet is set to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday with field events at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House. Running events begin at 2 p.m., ending a saga that began Monday when snow and ice covered much of north Louisiana.

Though the meet is conducted by the LSU Track Officials Association and Delta Timing, Bonine credited LSU track coach Dennis Shaver for his work to pull together a plan for all groups involved to host the meet Sunday.

“The arrangement we have with LSU is a contract to host the meet,” Bonine said. “It’s their meet. They do an incredible job running it, with the LSU officials and timers.

“It is a state-of-the-art-facility and the timing system they use is used at the NCAA championships. The benefit for us is that we get to hand out trophies.”

Despite the contract, the process Monday through Thursday was complicated. LHSAA assistant executive director Adam MacDowell, who coordinates indoor track, said he reached out Monday to LSU about the possibility of pushing back the meet a day.

MacDowell said he spent 14 hours talking to coaches, LSU and others trying to negotiate the move. Bonine said principals, athletic directors and some coaches in north Louisiana. By that time, Bonine said the LHSAA began receiving complaints from coaches and parents in the Caddo Parish area, asking that the meet be moved to Sunday or some other date in order to allow north Louisiana athletes to participate.

Conflicts with other LHSAA or LSU events made it impossible to move the meet to any of the next three weekends.

Bonine said weekdays were not an option because the LSU track officials are volunteers who work during the week and timing contract issues. Delta Timing has the contract and equipment for meets at LSU.

Bonine said the the LHSAA’s original decision to keep the meet on Saturday was not popular, but he felt it was the correct one.

“I was not in favor of canceling it after what we went through last year (with the novel coronavirus pandemic canceling spring sports),” Bonine said. “I thought it would be best to have the meet with as many athletes as we could, compared to not having the meet at all. Fortunately, it looks like everyone will be able to compete now.”


Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com