LHSAA Concludes 2022-2023 Season with Executive Committee Summer Meeting

by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner

BATON ROUGE – The LHSAA summer executive committee meeting closed out the 2022-2023 school year Thursday afternoon with the discussion of several key items as the association moves into the new school calendar.

Thursday’s meeting started with a much anticipated session for public comments that included discussion from two principals regarding the postponement of ratification of revamped playoff format items at the January convention.

Neville principal Mickey McCarty spoke first requesting some clarification as to why the membership was told a summer meeting would take place following the agreement to postpone ratification but that none was offered by the association itself.

“We as principals were waiting on some sort of communication from this (LHSAA) office,” said McCarty. “We then realized in March that there was no communication happening. So we asked each other what do we do now?

Per the LHSAA handbook, for membership to hold a special meeting outside of the January convention, a minimum commitment percentage of 50% from all member schools would need to be submitted in writing to the LHSAA office. If that number is obtained, a meeting can be held 60 days after being approved in order to vote or discuss tabled items.

Two attempts were made over the last two months by membership to hold a special meeting with each attempt failing to attract a quorum. The first attempt resulted in only 33% (125 schools) of principals responding with a commitment to appear for a special meeting while the latest attempt gained more traction but still failed to reach the minimum requirement with only 41% (169 schools) committing to appear.

“At the end of the day, I do respect the handbook,” said McCarty. “I just wanted to have some representation down here not only for my school, but also for north Louisiana.”

Lincoln Prep principal Gordon Ford spoke on the topic as well, affirming that procedures are in place to request a special meeting. Mr. Ford did ask the executive committee to consider a recommendation to ask the LHSAA office to poll the state’s principals as to whether they want to have a summer meeting.

The committee responded by taking each comment under consideration for future discussions.

“At this point, we will move forward,” executive director Eddie Bonine stated. “The bone of contention is that there was a promise of a summer meeting made. What was said was there could be a summer meeting. But there are guidelines to follow, which is what we did with both meeting requests.”

For now, the current playoff formats for aforementioned sports will stay in place until they come up for approval at next January’s convention or unless a special meeting is called to order.

The executive committee also discussed action taken during its spring meeting regarding the restructuring of power points awarded to the sports whose postseason formats were revamped last fall.

For baseball, basketball, football and softball, play-up points are administered to schools who play a team above their classification. For example, a Class 1A school may earn eight play-up points just for competing against a Class 5A school.

Moving forward those teams will now earn play-up points based on which postseason division they are in. For instance, West Monroe (Class 5A) and Neville (Class 4A) are placed in Non-Select Division I for football. If Neville were to play West Monroe during the regular season, the Tigers would not earn the two play-up points as based on the old system.

Other business included discussion regarding the consolidation and/or restructuring of several schools within the New Orleans area as well as the addition of a new school in Ascension Parish.

Once completed, Prairieville High School will become the fifth high school in the parish joining Donaldsonville, Dutchtown, East Ascension and St. Amant. According to information from newly selected principal Randall Loving, the school would obtain a Class 5A enrollment, when it joins the association for athletic competition. The school is set to open its doors for the 2024-25 school year.

Lengthy discussions regarding the “hold back” and eligibility rules were held throughout a majority of the meeting. The executive committee spoke on several handbook items that needed clarification within the language to help support what was voted on at January’s convention.

The meeting concluded with staff reports along with board representative updates followed by  a vote of confidence for Bonine for the upcoming school year.