Select/nonselect items be elephant in room may factor in LHSAA summer meeting

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The one-day agenda for the LHSAA executive committee’s annual summer meeting includes more than 20 items.

Discussion on proposed select/nonselect bylaw changes delayed from January is not listed, but it could be part of the meeting story.

Representatives from member schools seeking a special meeting on those topics may attend the meeting set for 10 a.m. Thursday at the LHSAA office in Baton Rouge.

Two requests to call a special meeting for all LHSAA principals were submitted by member principals since April. Both failed to gain the support of half the LHSAA membership needed to call a special meeting.

“I don’t expect any fireworks. … The agenda is a typical June (executive committee) meeting,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said. “I know there is some paperwork out there that was not generated from this office about barnstorming the meeting.

“We always invite (school) representatives to our meetings. They are open meetings. There will be executive sessions for appeals and to discuss my evaluation. (Divisions) is not one of the topics, but someone could ask questions. A member of the committee could also make a motion to add it (to the agenda).”

The basis for debate goes back to last spring and summer when the executive committee voted to alter the definition of what a select school is, adding all charter schools, open enrollment school districts and schools with any type of magnet component to its list of select schools for its split sports of football, basketball, baseball and softball.

Those changes left the LHSAA with a more balanced number of select/nonselect schools. From there, the LHSAA devised plans for five select divisions and five nonselect divisions for the split sports in 2022-23.

Member principals were then set to vote in January on whether to keep the new divisions approach or return to the previous structure that had a majority of nonselect schools this fall.

However, a new interpretation of an existing bylaw changed that. The LHSAA parliamentarian ruled that any changes would be made immediately.

That “effective immediately” change would have forced the LHSAA to rework its playoff structure, including software. And those changes would have pushed back the start of the basketball playoffs several weeks.

To avoid delays, a small group of principals were selected to meet with LHSAA officers. They hammered out an agreement to table the vote, along with added discussion on the division structures until June.

The first special meeting request attracted 135 responses, below the threshold of 206. The second request garnered 169 responses from the 409 member schools which includes 191 select schools and 218 nonselect schools in the revamped divisions adopted last summer.

Letters of support for the second request came from 64 select schools and 105 nonselect schools, according to LHSAA data.

Other items

Jefferson Parish’s reorganization after the closure of Grace King and Helen Cox is part of the agenda.

The future addition of Prairieville High and the consolidation of Rosenwald Collegiate and Cohen are other items of note.

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