LHSAA convention gets under way Wednesday

LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson Show caption
LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson

The agenda is set and plans for three days of meetings and other activities also are in place. As the Louisiana High School Athletic Association begins its annual convention Wednesday, LHSAA President Brent Vidrine of Neville-Monroe, offered some basic thoughts.

“I expect it to be an exciting convention,” Vidrine said. “There will be a lot going on. I find that a lot of things change once you get to the convention. We may talk in our own areas of the state, but once you get to the convention you get a perspective from other principals and that counts for a lot.

“The important thing for us as a group is to make decisions that are the best for our student-athletes and everyone involved in high school sports in our state.”

The LHSAA convention begins Wednesday with an executive committee meeting set for 10 a.m. at Baton Rouge’s Crowne Plaza. The Louisiana High School Athletic Directors Association will also have its conference from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Activities will conclude with the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony set for 6 p.m.

Vidrine did not specifically address the key issues, two proposals would divide the LHSAA into separate playoffs for nonselect and select schools. Those issues and others will be spotlighted as the convention continues Thursday and Friday at the Crowne Plaza.

Thursday’s events include roundtable discussions on LHSAA matters, including the agenda, at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will also be a sports medicine roundtable at 10 a.m., along with meetings for principals in each individual class set for 3:20 p.m.

The Coca-Cola convention luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday and features Duke University’s Greg A. Dale, a sports psychologist, discussing “Parent of Student-Athletes.”

The three-day convention concludes with a 9 a.m. general assembly meeting Friday. Member principals will vote on agenda items during that time.

The first select/nonselect proposal was tabled at the 2012 convention and requires a vote to be taken off the table for consideration. It will divide LHSAA schools in separate playoffs for football and other major team sports starting in 2015-16. The second proposal would put schools in separate playoffs for football only starting this fall.

Nonselect schools are defined as traditional public schools with attendance zones. Select schools include private schools, charter schools, magnet schools, laboratory schools and dual-curriculum schools with a magnet component that draws a certain percentage of enrollment from outside their attendance zones. Select schools make up about 30 percent of the LHSAA’s 388 member schools.

Winnfield Principal Jane Griffin leads a group of principals who put up the football only proposal, citing the chance to try it out for football with the districts already set last fall. Both proposals allow for five nonselect championships and two select championships, though Griffin said she would not be opposed to amendments to offer more select championships.

“The first thing you look at with the LHSAA is No. 1, is it in the best interest of student-athletes and is it fair and equitable,” Griffin said. “What we have right now is not fair and equitable.”

Griffin cites her own school as an example, noting that Winnfield beat private school football power John Curtis to win the 3A title in 1982 and didn’t make another title game until 2011 when it lost to Curtis in the 2A final. Curtis now has 25 state title and has made 17 straight finals appearances.

Others, like Broadmoor Principal Dary Glueck, offer an opposing view.

“No, I just can’t be for it, and neither are my coaches,” Glueck said. “Maybe our dynamic is a little different in Baton Rouge. I have people from other areas say, ‘Well, I know you don’t like Parkview (Baptist), a football power.’ And I tell them yes we do.

“When we play Parkview, we know the crowd will be good and it will be good competition. The bottom line is we want to play all the teams, not just some of them.”

Hall of Fame inductees

Five coaches and one official will be inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame.

The coaches are former Carencro football coach Mac Barousse, the late Eugene “Gene” Bennett Jr., a basketball coach at St. Paul’s, former Albany girls basketball coach Karen Hoyt, ex-Anacoco multi-sport coach Vic Ortiz and former Rummel baseball coach Larry J. Schneider.

Longtime wrestling official Cliff Strider is also part of the induction class.