by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
BATON ROUGE – The LHSAA classification committee gathered in Baton Rouge on Thursday to kickstart the process of determining member school placements into classifications and districts based on enrollment.
This crucial meeting set the stage for the upcoming sports seasons in 2024-25 and 2025-26. The committee had a full agenda, with appeals, classification changes, and discussions on the future of classification structures in the association.
The meeting began with several schools seeking to appeal their initial classification designations. Grant High School and Iowa High School both had aspirations to move down to Class 3A but were denied their appeals. Their arguments in favor of playing in a lower classification were not deemed convincing enough to warrant a change.
New Living Word, a small private school located in Ruston, had a unique request to be re-classified as a competitor. However, the LHSAA committee denied this appeal. The school had cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for not participating in sports competitions over the past few years, choosing to prioritize the health of its students. The school was informed that it could still compete in varsity and sub-varsity competitions but would not be eligible for postseason honors. This decision aimed to help the school rebuild its enrollment without the need to withdraw from the association.
After addressing these appeals, assistant executive director Michael Federico presented the initial plan of classification and sport regular season division placement. Notably, some schools were granted approval to play up in higher classifications. Evangel made a move from 4A to 5A, while St. Charles and Loyola Prep transitioned from 2A to 4A. Additionally, several other schools that traditionally played up, such as John Curtis, Holy Cross, St. Augustine, and Scotlandville, received approval to continue doing so.
Following the approval of the 2024-26 classification numbers, the committee engaged in a healthy discussion regarding the structure between postseason structures and traditional classifications. The key topic was whether division-based playoff structures should replace the traditional classification-based districts. This change would have a significant impact on the future of high school sports in Louisiana.
During this discussion, committee members expressed various perspectives on the idea and the potential consequences of such a shift.
Eddie Bonine reiterated the importance of considering changes with care and thorough planning, given that the association’s constitution is currently based on Class 5A to C. While there is support for changes in districting by division, it was emphasized that any alterations to the existing structure must be approached thoughtfully to ensure a better format for select and non-select playoff divisions.
Bonine concluded the discussion by acknowledging that implementing such changes would require time and deliberation.
The first draft of district plans will be sent out to all member schools on Monday, November 6.
The committee will reconvene for a second meeting on November 13 to hear appeals regarding the first draft of district plans. Member schools have until November 9 to appeal their district placement.