The more things change, the more they can also remain the same, something the LHSAA reaffirmed with its awarding of championship sites for seven sports.
Executive director Eddie Bonine asked that the bids be awarded for just 2019-20, rather than a two-year plan based on the evolving status of the LHSAA’s select/nonselect playoffs. The approval of sites helped open the executive committee's annual summer meeting Monday at the LHSAA office. The meeting concludes with a 9 a.m. Tuesday session.
In most cases, the sites remained the same. Sulphur’s McMurry Park (baseball), Lake Charles’ Burton Coliseum (boys basketball), Louisiana-Monroe (tennis), Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center (volleyball) and Bossier City’s CenturyLink Center (wrestling) all retained events.
There were two changes — Burton in Lake Charles will host the LHSAA’s boys and girls basketball tournaments in 2019-20. Powerlifting returns to ULM for the first time in two years. Both those events were in Alexandria’s Rapides Parish Coliseum the past two years.
“I don’t want us to end up in a negative situation contract-wise with our host sites like we were a few years ago,” Bonine said. “At this point, I think we need to wait and see how things go this year and then ask for proposals to host sites again.”
Bonine referenced the 2016-17 school year. That is when the LHSAA was in the middle of contracts to host seven title brackets for boys/girls basketball, baseball/softball and the member schools voted to expand the select/nonselect split to those sports, increasing the number of title brackets to 12, which put added demands on host sites which exceeded the contracts.
Uncertainty remains about how LHSAA events will evolve after a series of member-school votes in January gave select schools the right to break away from LHSAA tourneys to host their own events in all select/nonselect sports. How those title events will play out has not be announced.
Plans to finalize Southeastern Louisiana University as the soccer host site for 2019-20 is in the works. The most recent site, the UL, had a schedule conflict. LHSAA assistant executive director Fallon Buckner said the soccer tourney would be played in SLU’s Strawberry Stadium, which is already marked for NCAA Division I soccer because of the Lions’ women’s team.
Instead of presentations by each site, the LHSAA’s assistant directors made site recommendations for their sports that the executive committee voted on, based on proposals to host that were submitted to the LHSAA.
Houma/Houma Civic Center submitted bids for powerlifting and volleyball. The Pontchartrain Center also bid on wrestling. Another proposed wrestling site, BR’s River Center, was not available to host on the 2020 dates.
Fishing, appeals, etc.
Fishing League Worldwide will coordinate the LHSAA’s pilot program for bass fishing in 2020. The cost will be $25 per student/athlete to participate.
Nearly 200 LHSAA schools have indicated they plan to participate in the bass fishing pilot program. Teams will compete in one of four regional tournaments set for March 14. The top 10 teams in each region advance to the championship event set for April 3 at Shreveport’s Cross Lake.
In other action:
• The committee voted to disperse about $86,000 to 18 schools that did not receive their full financial guarantee for playing in the 2016 Prep Classic because of flood-related issues. New Orleans Science and Math, a charter school, was approved for membership.
• Nine schools appealed rulings in closed session. Several were appealing fines regarding coaches who did not complete required rules clinics. One was an eligibility appeal. Bonine said decisions on those appeals will be announced later this week.
Lafayette Christian, Holy Cross, Ben Franklin, Morris Jeff, Union Parish, Richwood, Lafayette High and Logansport appeared for appeals.