‘Split Here To Stay’ LHSAA Must Turn Focus Towards Reforming Playoffs

by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner

It’s over.

After nine years, multiple failed proposals, and endless debate amongst coaches, principals, media, parents as well as the coffee shop old-timers, it is apparent that the split amongst Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) public and private member schools is here to stay.

So, what now?

The association will have to turn its focus from unification to reformation. 

Since the initial split occurred in 2013, the integrity of the postseason has been put into question many times. The original intent given as the reason for the split was not to allow more teams in the playoffs but to give championship-level programs a legitimate opportunity to be recognized as a champion.

A new vision must be created in regards to how teams become eligible for postseason play amongst the five sports of football, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and softball. 

For example, the sport of football recognizes the top-32 Non-Select, or public school, teams based on power ratings in Class 5A through Class 2A. In Class 1A, the top 24 squads are placed into the postseason bracket.

Under the current format, a total of 36 teams with losing records advanced to the 2021 football playoffs. 

In an effort to reduce the number of losing schools from becoming playoff eligible, the 32-seed playoff field in the Class 5A through 2A could be downsized to 24 teams while Class 1A is shrunk down to just 16 squads.

Had the above sample plan been in place for the 2021 season, only 9 losing teams would have advanced into the playoff field, thus eliminating the “black-eye” of multiple teams with losing records becoming playoff eligible.

When it comes to reforming the private school divisions, one suggestion would be to take all members classified as Select and divide them amongst four divisions according to their enrollment numbers.

For example:

Division IDivision II
Catholic (BR)2180St. Michael599
Brother Martin1773E.D. White594
Scotlandville1656St. Louis553
C.E. Byrd1509Parkview490
St. Paul’s1444University Lab476
Liberty1105De La Salle459
Ben Franklin1011Episcopal384
McKinley929Loyola Prep382
St. Thomas More928John Curtis373
St. Augustine909St. Charles359
Holy Cross907Northlake Christian358
Teurlings Catholic781Thomas Jefferson354
Lusher Charter734Lafayette Christian344
Shaw633Calvary Baptist339
Vandebilt Catholic601Notre Dame338
Division IIIDivision IV
Menard319Thrive Academy177
Catholic (NI)314Opelousas Catholic173
Pope John Paul II303Southern Lab170
St. Thomas Aquinas297Ascension Catholic167
Dunham287Covenant Christian165
Houma Christian263Westminster163
Ascension Episcopal261Central Private149
Country Day240Central Catholic147
Evangel235St. Edmund139
Ascension Christian219St. John128
Ouachita Christian214Highland Baptist125
Catholic (PC)203St. Mary’s120
Cedar Creek200Glenbrook110
St. Martin’s198Hamilton Christian96
Vermilion Catholic194River Oaks96
Riverside194Hanson Memorial92
St. Frederick190
Sacred Heart186
Enrollment is estimated. The list does not take into account teams requesting to “play-up”.

A plan similar to the one above would increase the number of playoff-eligible teams up to around 17-18 squads in each division with the possibility of even more if the four divisions were condensed to three.

The plan would give the Select schools a chance to play more than one or two contests before the state championships thus increasing chances of stronger postseason gate and concession sales.

Last school year, GeauxPreps.com proposed a unique way to bring the schools back together while keeping public and private schools split.

The “Playoff Reunification Plan” suggested bringing all schools back together for the postseason while also keeping the non-select and select divisions. An undisputed champion would be crowned in each class following a division championship on each side that includes a field of 16 teams representing the non-select schools and another division consisting of 16 representatives from the select side.


A perfect answer may not always be available in the midst of a broken situation.

With that said, let us not forget that at the end of the day, it’s all about the student-athlete and what is best for his or her well-being.