LHSAA Split Playoff Bill Passes In House Education Committee
If you're not aware, high school sports are a big deal in Louisiana. They are such a big deal that even when faced with a huge budget deficit our legislators are willing to sit down and discuss how to make high school sports better. The issue is the recent decision by members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. That body decided that state championships among member schools would be divided into two divisions. There would be a public school champion and a private, or select, school champion.
Many people feel that is not in the best interest of sports on the high school level. Many people feel that the LHSAA has not made many decisions recently that have been in the best interest of high school sports, the athletes, or game day officials. Those decisions have certainly been beneficial to the organization.
The rift between member schools and the LHSAA has now become so large that another high school athletics association is soliciting membership among schools. That effort is gaining momentum and so is a movement in the state legislature to mandate certain things of the LHSAA.
Wednesday the House Committee on Education approved a measure that would seek to end the split between public and private schools as dictated by the LHSAA. Coach JT Curtis spoke before the committee and said,
You're the only body that can come to our rescue and say 'Sit down' before we have to and get this thing on the right page.
Curtis' remarks were echoed by another prominent coach, Mike McGuire. McGuire is the coach of Metairie Park Country Day boys basketball. He explained what the effects the split championship format would have on his sport.
For them to take that away, to go from 7 championships to 14 championships, is just going to tear basketball apart.
While the legislation to force the hand of the LHSAA did move forward in committee, not all legislators are on board. Ed Price who represents the Gonzales area had this to say,
The New Orleans Saints is a private enterprise run by a private corporation that we give a lot of money to, but we can't go tell Tom Benson who to draft, who not to draft, how to run his team.
Price's remarks as well as those of Curtis and McGuire were included in a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network.
What's next for the legislation is a trip to the House floor for open debate among the entire membership of the house.