LHSAA membership votes to keep splits, reject alternatives at special meeting
|Photo by Rod Walker / The Advocate|
|A powerpoint slide gives a detailed account of the LHSAA principals' vote at the LHSAA Special Meeting held on June 8 at Baton Rouge's Crowne Plaza Hotel.|
None of the above. That’s the so-called winner of Wednesday’s special session voting in Baton Rouge at the Crowne Plaza Hotel by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.
In an effort to avoid the continued split of select and non-select schools in football as well as other such divides in basketball (boys and girls), baseball and softball approved by the LHSAA this past January, the organization’s Executive Committee arranged for voting and discussion on alternatives.
The fifth option to keep in place what had previously been approved won with more than 56 percent of the vote from principals and/or their proxies in attendance. None of the four other new proposals received more than 17.2 percent voting support.
The following alternatives were up for vote:
• Mandeville Principal Bruce Bundy’s proposal would bring schools back together for all sports and multiply the enrollment of select schools by 1.5 to determine their classification.
• Ruston Principal Ricky Durrett’s plan also would unite schools and use a 1.5 multiplier to determine enrollment. It also would have added a new 6A top class for the largest schools and those playing up in classification.
• The hybrid plan from the LHSAA’s School Relations Committee would unite teams in Classes 5A and 4A in football and combines B and C. Schools in Classes 3A, 2A, 1A would be divided by rural/metro status for the playoffs instead of select/non-select.
• A plan from Iowa’s Mike Oakley and Vinton’s Mitch Manuel’s would have reduced the basic number of classes from seven to five. It called for four non-select and three select football championships and a five non-select/four select championships in the other four sports.
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has asked for time to “study the consequences” of pending legislation in the State House of Representatives.
House Bill 863, authored by Representative Kirk Talbot R-River Ridge, passed the Education Committee last week by a 7-5 vote and was to be discussed on the House floor Thursday.
The bill takes direct aim at the LHSAA split playoffs. House Bill 863 says that any public or nonpublic school that receives state funds cannot be a member of the an athletic organization that splits its playoffs. In January, a majority of LHSAA principals voted to split the playoffs in baseball, basketball, and softball. The playoffs were split in football in a vote in January of 2013.
Talbot, when reached by phone Wednesday in Baton Rouge, said that the LHSAA has asked that the bill be “held” until the Executive Committee of the LHSAA meets April 14.
“I am cautiously optimistic that something can come out of their meeting,” said Talbot. “I am returning the bill to calendar, but I can bring it back up at any time.”
Talbot said his bill his still “passable” through the State House, but he hopes for a solution.
“I hope we don’t need this bill, at all,” said Talbot.
A new Louisiana high school sports “cooperative” is seeking 60 members to split off from the LHSAA. The cooperative was spearheaded by several private schools in the Baton Rouge area.
LHSAA alternative pitched to Louisiana high schools
Shreveport-based reports of a Wednesday press conference to announce the formation of a second high school sports organization did not pan out. However, many LHSAA schools did receive a copy of an outline for a new “athletic cooperative” developed by Paul Rainwater, a former Chief of Staff for Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Rainwater’s framework for a new organization would require 60 member schools, and schools would pay a one-time membership fee of $15,000. Rainwater confirmed he has volunteered to serve as the organization’s executive director.
Rainwater said he is negotiating with LSU to host for football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball starting in 2016-17.
“I don’t know any press conference,” Rainwater said. “I was asked to put together a structure, which is what I’ve done. As far as I’m concerned, my job is done until I hear more from the schools and I have not.
“I was asked to come up with an alternative. There are questions about governance with the LHSAA and this addresses that. The model I put together mirrors that of the U.S. Senate. It would take a three-quarters vote to bring something up for a vote that is a major change. The thing you want is stability so athletes and schools can compete. It takes the politics out of it.”
Most schools said they had heard nothing about a press conference, other than references on twitter. Several schools said they received the information in the mail and had not had a chance to look at it yet. The documentation follows two meetings that were held in January and February with schools from across the state. The second meeting, held January 29, was for parochial schools in particular.
LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine declined comment, but noted that both he and the LHSAA executive committee are aware of Rainwater’s plan.
“I’ve received the letter and structure,” Teurlings Catholic Principal Mike Boyer said. “There were two meetings held. I know the letter says to start in 2016-17, but that is way too fast as far as I’m concerned.
“There is still a lot we don’t know with regard to what will happen in the legislature and what structure the LHSAA will come up with. There are too many unknowns.”
Catholic High Athletic Director J.P. Kelly said his school would follow the direction given to parochial schools.
“There were two good meetings where we given a lot of information and ideas,” Kelly said. “We certainly don’t know of any decision to act on that.”
Legislature to address LHSAA split
By: Kevin Foote
State Rep. Kirk Talbot of River Ridge wasn’t pleased with the postseason split that has governed the state’s high school football playoffs over the past three seasons.
So he was even less pleased with the direction the LHSAA took at this year’s annual convention in January, adding the sports of boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball to this era of postseason splits between public and private schools.
Consequently, he’s decided to get the state Legislature involved by submitting House Bill No. 863 to the regular session agenda.
The bill, simply designed to get the public and private schools back together in postseason play, would prohibit any public or private school receiving state funds to participate in a split postseason.
The exact wording of the bill is:
“A public school or nonpublic school approved by the State Board of 11 Elementary and Secondary Education that receives state funds shall not be a member 12 of any interscholastic extracurricular athletic association or organization that 13 subdivides schools into select admission and non-select admission schools for 14 athletic playoff competitions.”
As of now, there will be 12 state champions crowned in basketball, softball and baseball in the 2016-17 school year.
Talbot said he also very concerned about the financial viability of high school sports in Louisiana if this recent postseason trend leads to a total split with Catholic and Christian schools potentially breaking off to form their own association.
Meetings have already been held around the state since the convention’s vote in late January.
Early indications is that potential total split between public and private schools wouldn’t take place until the 2017-18 school year.
Talbot said other bills are expected in the regular session to address the LHSAA split controversy.