by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
In the latest chapter of the LHSAA non-select/select tale, a group of member school representatives met with Baton Rouge attorney Brian Blackwell Wednesday afternoon at Tioga High School to open a dialogue amongst those in attendance and discuss “legal options”.
Open to all LHSAA membership, the session lasted for about an hour and a half, with members from at least 15 different schools appearing to discuss amongst each other as well as Blackwell regarding the LHSAA executive committee’s decision to revamp the postseason structure for baseball, basketball, football and softball while choosing to update the definition of “Select” to reflect the current education model in Louisiana.
Although the session was closed to the general public, Neville principal Mickey McCarty met with the media afterwards and noted that a good round of discussion was had all around.
“We felt like it was important to get the message out across the state that if anybody was interested in meeting once again to discuss where we are or where we could go then let’s talk,” said McCarty. “We had good healthy conversations. I honestly don’t know what was accomplished but we did have good talks about where we are, what’s taken place, and how we can move forward in the long run.”
In an unprecedented move last fall, the LHSAA executive committee approved a new defintion for “Select” as any member deemed to be a lab school, magnet school, school with magnet components, charter school, parish that allow open enrollment at all its public schools and tuition-based schools.
In addition, the committee restructured the postseason brackets in the sports of football, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball in the interest of leveling the playing field as well as shrinking down bloated playoff brackets as well as the number of championship games.
The decision seemed to gain momentum as the 2022-23 sports seasons progressed although there were a group of schools, either redesignated as a “Select” playoff squad or moved into a playoff division with schools who possessed a larger enrollment that deemed the move unfair. McCarty was encouraged to have schools who either supported or were against the move attend Wednesday’s meeting.
“We had representatives from both sides of the aisle present today,” said McCarty. “That’s what we wanted in order to receive some feedback. I don’t want my opinion to be the sole opinion in the room.”
To avoid disorganized chaos of delayed postseason events for basketball, baseball and softball, the membership overwhelmingly delayed a vote to ratify or reject the new playoff structure at January’s annual convention. Instead, it was discussed that a summer meeting be held to discuss and possibly make a final decision on the current playoff model.
Attempts at holding a special meeting were rejected in March and June of this year due to membership not being able to obtain commitments from over 50% of all schools to force a vote.
Concerning the group’s next steps, McCarty noted that those present at Wednesday’s meeting will begin to sift through information gathered and will access all discussion.
“As far as moving forward, I think there are some decisions to be made whether we have any recourse to act at this time or do we go into the new school with a smile on our face and proceed,” said McCarty.
The first official playing date for LHSAA football is August 31st while contests for basketball are set to start October 30th.