Principals’ agendas hold the future of the LHSAA
With the end of interscholastic competition for the 2013-14 school year, we may have witnessed the end of high school sports in Louisiana as we have come to know it (or of it) for the last 90 decades.
When the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s summer meeting commences on June 19, it could very well mark the beginning of a history-changing series of events that could give the LHSAA a new life or a painful divorce or demise.
The journey into oblivion began in 2012 when public school principals voted to separate their schools from their non-public counterparts in an effort to avoid having to play them for a class state championship. Yet they also voted to maintain common districts for regular season play.
The watered-down playoffs produced nine football championship games last December; the usual five for public schools and four for the others which could hardly fill 32-team brackets.
Yes, there were more championship trophies doled out, but the competition was diluted by the reality that there was no true state champion crowned on either side.
The principals had the opportunity to erase their mistake by voting to return the playoffs to normal in 2013, but again, the public school clan used its majority muscle to retain the status quo.
And now the word is out that they will vote to separate the two educational factions into separate playoffs for all sports.
Several private and Catholic schools have responded by no longer scheduling games against schools whose principals voted for a split. Such schools will no longer profit financially from the schools they have shunned.
Look for LHSAA execs to offer multiple options for consideration at the 2015 convention in January:
1. Go back to a common playoff system?
2. Keep separate playoffs for football and the status quo for other sports?
3. Hold separate playoffs in all sports?
4. Have separate sub-organizations within the LHSAA to be overseen by executive councils. The two factions would decide if they want to play each other in non-district events, but would have separate districts or divisions.
The opinion of many principals with whom I spoke is that the majority will favor option No. 3. The minority will not, and that might be the deciding factor that triggers a mass exodus of non-public schools from the association to which they have belonged since 1929.
The public school principals will have grand delusions of liberation, while the others will have to work out the logistics of forming another private organization.
There have been suggestions of how the new private school association might work:
The schools re-form as an invitation-only association. They invite just the schools they want as partners. As a “private” organization, some proponents feel this can be done with legal impunity.
Frankly, such a bizarre end to a great organization may seem far-fetched. But, it’s no secret that principals of the LHSAA are facing a raging firestorm that is about to be ignited by their selfish agendas.