Oak Grove accepts the championship trophy after defeating White Castle after the LHSAA Class 1A High School State Championship at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. ORG XMIT: BAT1912141526392368

After two days of statements and debate, the LHSAA issued a brief response to Sen. Cleo Fields and other critics, saying it remains committed to a safe return of fall sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The late Wednesday afternoon memo followed an executive committee meeting.

It states: “Now, more than ever, we are reminded that our communities need high school sports. Interscholastic competition supports the physical, emotional and mental well-being of student-athletes across Louisiana. The LHSAA is fully committed to the safe return of high school athletics this fall. We encourage member schools to follow LHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee Guidelines to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators. Reopening high school sports depends on all of us working together.”

Debate began Monday when Fields, the head of the Senate Education Committee, sent a letter to Board of Elementary and Secondary Schools Sandy Holloway, asking BESE to ban sports for its K-12 schools because of COVID-19 risks, noting the LHSAA was a private organization and should not make the decision.

BESE responded Tuesday, saying it has the authority to make recommendations to schools but cannot ban fall sports. The BESE statement listed the LHSAA and individual school districts are the sports decision makers.