LHSAA alternative pitched to Louisiana high schools; LSU might host group's championship games _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD ?-- Many Louisiana high schools recently received a copy of an outline for a new “athletic cooperative” to the LHSAA. ORG XMIT: BAT1512111955219056


June 8 is the date for LHSAA member principals to remember.

It’s the date for a special-called meeting for principals to vote on a hybrid compromise plan to implement the expanded championship split for boys/girls basketball, baseball and softball that was approved in January.

Information on the 11 a.m. meeting at the Crowne Plaza was revealed Tuesday by LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic-Morgan City. It will follow the annual two-day LHSAA summer meeting for the executive committee.

Some speculated that the meeting would be in May, so that the outcome would be available before the end of the Legislature’s current session. Bonnaffee said a May meeting was not feasible.

The LHSAA’s executive committee voted by an 11-10 margin last week to put the plan developed by the School Relations Committee up for a vote by member principals. It is the first special-called meeting since 2011 when principals met to approve pay raises for officials.

“I know that the public schools have major testing in May,” Bonnaffee said. “There also are a number of state championship events along with graduations for all schools. Once you get past graduations, all schools and principals are busy with transcripts and recording final grades and other business that goes with the end of the school year.

“That will continue for some into the first week of June, and others are attending a conference week. Taking all that into account, June 8 became the logical date.”

The School Relations Committee’s compromise proposal has three major components. One calls for Classes 5A-4A to be reunited for football for the first time since the initial nonselect/select school split for football passed in 2013. That move would cut the number of football championships from nine to eight. The 5A/4A schools would compete together in all sports.

A second component calls for the 71 schools in Classes B-C to be combined. The new Class B also would compete together in all sports.

The most pivotal component involves Classes 3A, 2A 1A. There would be two championships in each class. Schools would be divided based on whether they are rural or metro schools, not select/nonselect status, for the sports of boys/girls basketball, baseball and softball only.

The hybrid plan would give the LHSAA nine championships in those sports instead of 12 approved in January.

All other LHSAA sports, including track, cross country, soccer, swimming, bowling, wrestling, volleyball and powerlifting, are not part of this vote. Schools will continue to compete together as they traditionally have for LHSAA championships.

Bonnaffee said he asked members of the executive committee to offer suggestions on when the meeting should be held, but got no input.

“I am tired of people trying to project some sort of agenda on me,” Bonnaffee said. “As the LHSAA president, I have no agenda and have to remain neutral. I know there were some who were convinced I’d call the meeting in May so that public schools couldn’t attend.

“That wasn’t going to happen. Now I think Mr. (Eddie) Bonine (LHSAA Executive Director) will have time to send out the information to help educate principals about the select/nonselect and rural-metro plans.”