Catholic Schools

La. principals vote to hold separate playoffs in football

Louisiana high school principals voted 206-119 today to have the Louisiana High School Athletic Association create separate playoffs in football for public schools and non-public (or select) schools.

The separate playoffs in football will begin following the 2013 regular season. The regular season apparently will remain unchanged, with public and nonpublic schools playing each other.

The traditional public schools will play for championships in five classes. The select schools – which include Catholic, faith-based, private, charter, magnet, laboratory and dual-curriculum schools – will play for separate championships in two classes.

That would mean the football season would culminate in December in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with seven championship games, probably stretching from Thursday through Saturday.

Of the 389 schools that are members of the LHSAA, 267 are traditional public schools and 122 are considered select schools.

All Catholic school principals from the Archdiocese of New Orleans who were present at the LHSAA meeting voted against the separate playoffs proposal.

The select schools would be divided into two divisions: one division comprising Classes 5A, 4A and 3A, and the other comprising Classes 2A and 1A.

In the first division, schools range in enrollment from Lafayette High's 2,478 students to University High's 413 students.

In the second division, schools range in enrollment from Haynes' 393 students to Crescent City Baptist's 103.

One of the unknowns is how power points will be awarded in football. In the past, teams won extra power points for playing and defeating an opponent in a higher-class. Now, playoff rankings may be subject to a subjective ranking by coaches, a concern raised by LHSAA executive director Kenny Henderson.

The new rule is in effect for two years and will stay in place unless principals vote in another structure. Principals who spoke in favor of the proposal said they would see how it works in football with the understanding that they could change it in two years.

But by then, the separate playoffs movement might move beyond football to include the other LHSAA sports.

Jesuit principal Mike Giambelluca and Vic Bonnaffee, principal of Central Catholic in Morgan City, said were discussing plans to host a meeting for all select schools to talk about their options.