LHSAA committee makes recommendations; House bill moves forward

House bill concerning organization moves forward

“They (legislators) were appreciative of the work the committee did. And they plan to move forward with their bill.” Kenny Henderson, LHSAA executive director

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s school relations committee put together 11 recommendations during its two-day meeting to discuss the split football playoff plan that is set to go into effect this fall.

Most notably, the group of administrators did not recommend delaying implementing the plan. The committee also recommended the plan’s select and nonselect schools each have five football playoff divisions for 2013 and that all championships should be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Those recommendations were not enough to persuade three Louisiana legislators to stop pursuing a House bill that could ultimately eliminate the LHSAA.

“They (legislators) were appreciative of the work the committee did,” LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said. “And they plan to move forward with their bill.”

An LHSAA news release detailed the recommendations by the committee, which met Tuesday and Wednesday at the LHSAA office to debate issues and possible changes to rules regarding Item 18, which was passed by the LHSAA membership in January.

The committee completed its meeting Wednesday when the Legislature’s House Education Committee delayed a hearing on House Bill267 that is intended to stop Louisiana’s public schools from belonging to an organization that discriminates against schools based on their admissions policy.

An LHSAA group, led by Henderson, LHSAA President Todd Guice of Ouachita Parish High and school relations committee chairman Mike Boyer met with the authors of HB267 — Rep. Alan Seabaugh R-Shreveport, Rep. Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville and Rep. Rep Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, on Wednesday afternoon. Henderson said he was told HB267 should be heard next week.

“Although several members of the school relations committee did not agree with Item No. 18, the members respect the wishes of LHSAA principals voiced at the 2013 LHSAA General Business Meeting through the democratic process of a majority vote on each agenda item presented,” an LHSAA news release said. “Therefore, the SRC did not approve a recommendation to change the effective date of Item No. 18 from 2013-14 to 2014-15. Any additional changes including reconsideration or nullification of Item No. 18 would have to be brought before the entire membership in January 2014.”

Item 18 divides LHSAA schools into separate football playoff divisions for nonselect or traditional public schools and select, a group that includes private schools, magnet schools, laboratory schools, charter schools and dual curriculum schools that draw more than 25 percent of their enrollment from outside a traditional attendance zone.

There was “much open and frank discussion among the committee made up of a cross section of schools from across the state including public, non-public, large, small, rural, and urban,” the LHSAA release said.

The committee’s other recommendations that will be sent to the LHSAA executive committee are:

  • Also approved unanimously was a plan to remove charter schools that don’t have a select admissions policy from the select school category. The committee recommended the LHSAA executive committee take immediate action on items No. 1 and 2.

The following recommended concepts are to be developed into written proposals to be voted on by the membership at the LHSAA’s January 2014 convention:

  • A review of all residence and transfer rules to include a proposal that attendance zones for schools shall be the parish boundary lines. Unanimously approved.
  • Consideration of the use of some type of playoff success factor for every classification cycle. Unanimously approved.
  • To allow a school to play up in any higher classification. Unanimously approved.
  • In the sport of football, change the current system from five classifications to four divisions. Under the current format of Item No. 18, playoff subdivisions will be created from the four divisions. Unanimously approved.
  • Schools that provide financial aid to students must use an approved financial aid processing service. Unanimously approved.
  • To secure the necessary budgetary funding to hire a private detective to conduct recruitment and other necessary investigations. Unanimously approved.
  • To have random, unannounced rules compliance visits throughout the school year at member schools. Unanimously approved.
  • Alleged violations reported during the 10-day time period prior to the end of the regular season until the end of the championships in the same sport shall not be evaluated until the end of the championships. Unanimously approved.
  • Student-athletes shall not be allowed to compete in the same sport at two different schools in the same sports season. Unanimously approved.