BR.houseedhearing.090520 157.jpg

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

The possibility of the LHSAA’s select/nonselect schools uniting for championship events through a vote by individual classes has been discussed for several years. Now, there are three Class 5A proposals designed to do just that.

Brother Martin principal Ryan Gallagher authored proposals that would bring 5A schools back together to decide titles in football, basketball and baseball.

“Based on the conversation I’ve had with a lot of people, I think it is worth taking a shot at it,” Gallagher said. “The organization at large is very big and Class 5A is just a part of that. We feel like maybe as a 5A group we might agree to play together.”

Gallagher’s three 5A proposals and other proposals seeking a $10 pay raise for contest officials were among the items placed on the January convention agenda by the executive committee on the second day of its annual December meeting held Thursday at the LHSAA office. The LHSAA’s annual convention is set for Jan. 26-29 at the Crowne Plaza.

Unlike past votes designed to end the select/nonselect split for the entire association that require a two-thirds vote to pass, Gallagher’s proposals are on the agenda as Class 5A business and require a simple majority to pass during the 5A class meeting.

No districting/classification items were discussed Thursday. Instead, the committee will meet Dec. 16 to finalize the basic districts for Class 4A and 1A and the divisional sports districts for Class 5A. Districting plans for all other basic districts and divisional sports were approved Wednesday.

LHSOA president Paul LaRosa was on hand to discuss the officials’ pay raise proposals.

It was noted that LaRosa had worked with LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine in 2015 to hammer out a four-year agreement on officials pay that has been extended three years because of recent hardships for schools, including hurricanes and the pandemic.

LaRosa and LHSAA assistant executive director Lee Sanders addressed the committee, saying the LHSOA had compared pay levels for officials in Louisiana to those of the other southern states in the NFHS’ Section 3.

“We found that Louisiana’s pay level was lower than the other states,” LaRosa said. “The most significant differences were in basketball, volleyball and wrestling. The $10 figure is a way of getting us closer.”

NIL presentation

Thursday's meeting started with a presentation by Randy Eccker, who has established an NIL publishing platform designed to help high school coaches, administrations, parents and student/athletes navigate the growing Name Image Likeness (NIL) laws/guidelines.

While other states have had high-school related NIL situations, the LHSAA has not. Bonine told the executive committee he has reached out and worked with Eccker to help the LHSAA be proactive.

Eccker has created an online portal with modules that would offer education on NIL that are designed to help high schools and their students “protect and thrive” as NIL opportunities arise.

Bonine told the committee he wants Eccker to make a presentation for all member schools at the annual convention in January.

Zooming toward Prep Classic

Normally, the LHSAA has coaches for member schools qualifying for the Ochsner/LHSAA Prep Classic come to the LHSAA office for meetings to review guidelines for the event.

Bonine said those Saturday meetings will be done via Zoom this year.


Email Robin Fambrough at rfambrough@theadvocate.com