by Hunter Bower, GeauxPreps.com Owner
BATON ROUGE – In a pivotal development within the ongoing legal battle, a Louisiana judge has issued a temporary injunction in favor of the nine member schools currently locked in a lawsuit against the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA).
This injunction effectively bars the LHSAA from implementing its current playoff format which was revamped last fall to include a new definition for “Select” schools, pending further legal proceedings. The ruling underscores the contention that these schools should have had a say in determining the criteria for select and non-select schools within the association.
With the temporary ruling, the playoff formats as well as “Non-Select/Select” definitions will return to previous formats for the sports of baseball, basketball, football and softball for the time-being.
In a memo released Tuesday afternoon, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine addressed member schools regarding the legal dispute initiated by the nine schools challenging the current “select” school definition, approved by the LHSAA executive committee in 2022.
In response to this development, Bonine wrote: “Because the LHSAA must have a working definition of “select” for football postseason, I will be scheduling a meeting with the LHSAA executive officers to discuss the potential process(es) for resolve to be presented to the LHSAA executive committee for discussion and next steps. announced plans to convene a meeting with the LHSAA Executive Officers to explore potential resolution processes.”
According to the memo, the outcome of those discussions will then be presented to the LHSAA executive committee for further deliberation and potential next steps.
Central to this dispute is the definition of “select” schools and the question of whether LHSAA executive committee members possessed the authority to alter it. These revisions have sparked heated debates, with some principals arguing that such changes infringe on the constitutionality of the association and that crucial decisions like these should be subject to a vote by the membership.
Neville principal Mickey McCarty, a key plaintiff in the suit, told The Morning Drive’s Aaron Dietrich and Jake Martin: “This court filing was simply to ensure that the LHSAA by-laws and constitution were being followed properly. The changes made last summer by the executive committee relating to the definition of select which created the playoff system were implemented before ratification by the principals, our members. This goes against our constitution, an argument made last fall by many principals. We simply wanted the membership’s voice to be heard in a vote before the implementation of changes. The judge felt these fundamental processes were indeed not followed resulting in his ruling.”
Baton Rouge attorney Brian Blackwell, representing the nine schools, contended that glossary terms like “select” and “non-select” are fundamental components of the LHSAA constitution. He argued in his court filings that any alterations should adhere to the association’s established processes, including a two-thirds vote by member schools.
On the opposing side, LHSAA attorney Mark Boyer asserted in comments made prior to Monday’s ruling that the changes were made through due process and thorough deliberation by the executive committee. Boyer emphasized that proposed changes were made accessible to all member schools, with opportunities for discussion and input.
As this story unfolds, GeauxPreps will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available, keeping a close eye on this pivotal legal battle and its implications for high school sports in Louisiana.
Schools listed as plaintiffs in the suit include (alphabetical):
Buckeye High School
Carroll High School
Glenmora High School
Neville High School
Northwood (Lena) High School
Plainview High School
Rapides High School
Tioga High School
Wossman High School