‘Playing up’ issue should cause LHSAA to reunite

Your move “non-select” schools.

Now that John Curtis and Evangel have chosen to play “up” to Division I, a barrier to the return of all LHSAA schools, public and private, into one football playoff should be removed.

By playing up, Curtis and Evangel joined current Division I champion Rummel, the rest of the Catholic League, St. Paul’s and Catholic High of Baton Rouge in the highest classification.

In July, LHSAA football coaches, public and private, gathered in a forum hosted by former St. James coach and current sportsnola.com columnist Rick Gaille, and former Independence head coach and current LSU football director of external affairs Charlie Baglio. Media were not allowed in the session.

According to Gaille, midway through the session, coaches were “speaking from the heart.” Gaille said a survey was being prepared for Louisiana football coaches, and there was huge support for reducing the number of state football champions to seven.

Here’s the question. Would you like three select classes and four non-select or seven classes that include all private and public schools?

Results of the survey are still unknown. But my guess is, when it is time to vote, the majority of coaches will vote against reunification. Included in those will be some smaller private schools who like the opportunity to avoid some public school heavyweights in the playoffs.

Even if the coaches vote in favor, they don’t have the final say. Principals do on such changes.

A seven-bracket, all-inclusive playoff would be interesting, to say the least. Curtis and Evangel, who have won a total of 39 state football championships, could be in the same class with Acadiana, Destrehan, Hahnville, West Monroe and the Catholic League.

Such a top-heavy bracket would seem to be just the thing that could lure the Winnfields of the world to vote to reunite all schools in the football playoffs. Winnfield’s principal, Dr. Jane Griffin, who championed the split playoff proposal, could surely vote yea, knowing that Curtis and Evangel were now at the top of the bracket.

In the meantime, jog ahead to December. Let’s say Curtis meets a Catholic League school in the Division I finals. The crowd for the game swells to 40,000. At say, $15 a ticket, the LHSAA pockets $600,000. Curtis and the Catholic League school would each get $11,500.

The LHSAA, an organization that has shown little leadership and has allowed principals to divide football, reaps a financial bonanza. If Curtis and a Catholic League school played a championship game at Gormley, they would split more than $400,000.

Just a thought, as we wait for the next vote tally. If that vote says to continue to “split” football, then this is no longer just a Curtis/Evangel issue.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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