LHSAA notebook: Walk-up music back for baseball, softball; LHSAA chief Eddie Bonine says talk to schools if they have complaints about music _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine

The LHSAA’s ban on walk-up music for baseball and softball ended quietly during the afternoon portion of Thursday’s executive committee meeting.

Executive committee members instructed LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine to refer complaints about walk-up music that includes obscene language and language about inappropriate acts back to the schools in question.

Bonine said a lack of action by schools after complaints led to the ban he issued last week in a communication from the LHSAA office that was sent out to schools.

“This was more informational for me,” Bonine said. “I’m not going to take back that I stopped it for a period of time. Loud and clear today. … The ban was lifted. And if there are complaints I’ve got a phone tree to go to.

“I wanted to see what kind of blow-back I got from it, and I got 14 schools who said, ‘Why the heck are you doing that.’ I also wanted the committee to hear that visiting teams are bringing boom boxes to the game and playing their own music, which has turned into a problem for umpires. That was done.”

The sounding board

Rep Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, and Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, spoke to the executive committee before the School Relations Committee presented it’s hybrid compromise plan that led to the committee’s 11-10 vote to call a special meeting of principals.

Both legislators got to voice their concerns about the expanded split that was approved in January. Talbot explained his House Bill 863 that would prohibit schools that receive public money from belonging to an organization that splits its championships along select/nonselect lines.

Talbot told the group he believes, “No one wants a second association, and he’d prefer to tear up the bill” if the LHSAA could come to a compromise. Talbot also got stern questions.

Airline Principal Jason Rowland questioned why Talbot was worried about the LHSAA’s affairs, considering the situation with TOPS and the state budget. Doyle’s Tommy Hodges told Talbot that HB 863 was driving schools further apart, not bringing them together.

Bagley, a former coach, implored the LHSAA to sternly punish those who break its rules, especially those aimed at curbing recruiting.

Bonine’s evaluation

The executive committee also gave Bonine his first evaluation. LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee said 20 members of the executive committee completed the evaluation forms.

Of those forms, seven came back with a grade of excellent and eight as good. Areas that Bonine was told he needed to improve on included communication with the executive and technological issues involving the LHSAA’s partnership with MaxPreps. He got high marks for his work with the LHSAA’s finances and for being a fast learner in terms of the organization’s tasks and events.

“I’ve had worse,” Bonine joked. “No, I’m good. First of all I don’t take evaluations personally. Secondly, I look at them as a chance for professional growth where I see what I’ve got to work on. I’m thick-skinned enough that I can grow from it.”