Henderson to meet with nonpublic school committee

Louisiana High School Athletic Association Executive Director Kenny Henderson will meet Thursday with members of the organization’s nonpublic school committee to discuss the pending move to separate football championships for select and nonselect schools starting this fall.

“I expect we’ll get representatives from 10 to 12 schools here,” Henderson said.

“Now that this has passed, it’s our job to start filling in the gaps and looking at coming to a consensus on how this will work.”

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. at the LHSAA office. Henderson said the topics for discussion will include how the playoffs would be structured and how playoff teams will be determined.

In a landmark decision, LHSAA member principals ended their annual convention by voting Friday to divide its football championships into groups of select and nonselect schools by a 206-119 margin. The plan calls for select and nonselect schools to play each other in the regular season before branching off for separate championships.

The plan also calls for five football championships for nonselect or traditional public schools that have set attendance zones.

There will be two titles for nonselect schools. Private or nonpublic schools, charter, magnet, laboratory and dual-curriculum schools are defined as select schools. In order to be considered select, dual-curriculum schools must attract 25 percent of more of their enrollment from outside a traditional attendance zone.

Henderson said the LHSAA has already requested the enrollment percentages from dual-curriculum schools across the state. He sees Thursday’s meeting as a key starting point for the new plan, since 61 of the LHSAA’s 90 private schools play football and will make up a large portion of the select school group.

“What we’d like to do is get the ideas and views from this group first,” Henderson said. “Later, we’ll plan a meeting that includes all the select schools in order to get more input. Hopefully, we’ll know more by then about our dual-curriculum schools.

“One of things we think we have figured out is a way to do the power rankings in the regular season for the select schools so that people can see them every week just like they do for the nonselect schools.”

Henderson said he believes the LHSAA’s executive committee would have the authority to increase the number of select school football titles to three, but does not not have the authority to delay the football plan from going into effect next fall.

Henderson said dividing the select schools into three championship divisions would likely result in 16-team brackets for the two larger divisions and a 32-team bracket for the smaller division.

“The only way this can be changed or delayed would be through a vote of the entire membership,” Henderson said. “And the only way that can happen is either at the annual convention or a special-called meeting. We just finished the convention. It would be up to the president (Ouachita High Principal Todd Guice, elected last week) to call a meeting like that.”