Questions, everybody has them. I’ll give you my take of some of the things people keep asking me about.
Was the animosity between the officials and LHSAA real or was it made up to push through a pay raise?
It was real; make no mistake about that. I’m still getting a few emails from both sides from folks who still question why the raise was approved or why the increases approved weren’t higher.
I can understand why some might see it as grandstanding. Some things played out in the media in a very over-the-top way from both sides. I am interested to see how this plays out as coaches and officials interact and the LHSAA’s lobbying efforts to get all principals to ratify the raises in January.
Is East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake’s push to drop the grade-point average requirement from 2.0 to 1.5 for athletics and activities sending the wrong message?
No, I don’t think so, and here’s why. East Baton Rouge is one of only three parish systems in the state that require a 2.0 grade-point average for participation. Jefferson and Caddo are the others.
The LHSAA initially considered a 2.0 for its grade standard and later dropped that in favor of a C average because parishes use so many different grading scales. In general terms, a C is now somewhere between a 1.5 and a 2.4 for most systems.
Drake and his staff say they believe the key to turning around the EBR system is finding ways to keep students engaged in and out of the classroom. They also think this will help get more parents/guardians engaged. Drake says he believes students involved in sports, band and clubs will be motivated to do better in the classroom and will get added mentoring from coaches and club sponsors.
The debate about the 2.0-to-1.5 during the past week has been interesting. I’ve seen so many people express “outrage” in Facebook Posts, etc., because EBR wants to “lower its standards.” Yet there’s no outrage about the fact that no other school system in the Baton Rouge area has a 2.0 requirement. Or outrage about other systems around the state not requring a 2.0. That seems odd to me.
Then there’s that whole thing about sports and the “level playing field.” Since other schools play athletes with gpas lower than 2.0, you could say the playing field hasn’t been level for EBR schools.
Would EBR’s change to a 1.5 GPA requirement have an immediate effect on athletics?
I don’t see that. Any students who have less than a 2.0 haven’t been working out or competing unless they’re doing it on a recreation league level. Football coaches project adding five players or less.
The benefit is getting kids who have been close to the 2.0 after losing eligibility. It should provide added guidance and motivation.
The biggest benefit will come next year when schools are able to retain more of the freshmen/sophomores who get lost in the shuffle while trying to adjust to high school academics.
Many schools report losing up to two-thirds of freshman athletes after one grading period.
What do you think about Dylan Moses’ decision to decommit from LSU?
I don’t have a problem with it. To me, children who are in middle school or even the ninth grade are too young to commit to a college. Notice I used the word children and not athlete. Yes, they’re athletes, but they’re also 13- to 15-years-old.
Did Moses feel pressure to do what everyone expected and commit to LSU before his freshman year? This is Louisiana and LSU is LSU, so I’m sure he did.
Moses has the right to step back, take a look at himself and his future before choosing a school.
I have the utmost respect for Moses and his family. Give the kid some space and let him play.
What is your biggest concern going into the 2015 fall season?
It has to be our rising heat and humidity. Please stay hydrated and make sure you eat right and get plenty of rest. That goes for athletes and coaches. Listen to your coaches.
This message goes for swimmers and cross country runners too. When you pass a water fountain in the hall, always take a drink.
St. Michael the Archangel needs a head wrestling coach who is a certified nonfaculty coach.
Athletic Director Tami McClure can be contacted at (225) 753-9782, extension 22 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Robin Fambrough on Twitter: @FambroughAdv