LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine’s response to Monday’s formation of the Louisiana Select Association was blunt, but not unexpected. Bonine began his statement by saying the LSA has no standing with the LHSAA, something Catholic High athletic director and LSA CEO J.P. Kelly said the group understands.
“The Louisiana Select Association is not a recognized LHSAA sub-group, nor are they are actor as such, nor the equivalent of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association, Louisiana High School Athletic Directors Association nor the Louisiana High Officials Association,” Bonine said in a written statement. “All of these entities are approved recognized and protected by the LHSAA constitution as those representing the entire association. As time is now of the essence, the formation of the LSA is simply a necessary means to address organizing and administering of select sport post-season events. The LSA formation structure promotes perceptional optics not conducive to LHSAA unification.”
Kelly reaffirmed that the LSA's focus will be on administering championship events.
“We’ve had conversations about this with Mr. Bonine,” Kelly said. “The most important thing now is to have a structure in place for the championship events that we are in charge of hosting. In order for the LSA to be formally recognized by the LHSAA, there would have to be a January vote of the entire membership.
“This is about the select schools getting organized. The proposals allowing us to host championships in the select/nonsplit sports took place in January. I agree with Mr. Bonine that it is unfortunate that it took the select schools until now to get organized. But that is where we are.”
But an email from Chuck Schmidt, vice president and general manager of the Prep Division of OUTFRONT Media, the company that has taken over marketing and sponsorships for the LHSAA, did take Kelly and the LSA by surprise.
In the letter, Schmidt informed the LSA that OUTFRONT is the only entity with the rights to sell sponsorships for all LHSAA events, and attempts by anyone else to sell sponsorships will lead to legal action. OUTFRONT assumed control of marketing and sponsorships when longtime LHSAA Marketing Director Mitch Small retired last month.
“I was not aware of OUTFRONT’s relationship with the LHSAA and what it involved. My principal wasn’t familiar with it either,” Kelly said. “But it certainly sounds like something that will be very good and benefit all the LHSAA’s events and schools. We (LSA) discussed sponsorships only because we thought we would be responsible for handling that area for the select events. Now we know that is not the case.”
Bonine also stated that the timing for the formation LSA also is an issue since a survey of schools that could be crucial in an attempt to unify the LHSAA’s select/nonselect schools is currently being conducted with all member schools. The LHSAA's select/nonselect split began in 2013 with football and expanded to basketball, baseball and softball in 2016. Separate associations for select/nonselect schools is among the options schools are being given.
Porter services Thursday
A celebration of life for legendary Southern Lab football coach Carl Porter is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 9700 Scenic Highway.
In honor of his service in the U.S. Army, Porter will be buried at Port Hudson National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. Friday.