Rumblings of separate playoffs again at January meeting
by CARL LANGLEY
If you keep up with the happenings at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) and its member schools, you will recall that a very controversial proposal by then-former principal Marlin Ramsey of South Beauregard High School was tabled for one year for more study during the January 2012 Annual Meeting.
Not only was the proposal controversial, but also extremely long. Frankly, Ramsey had a difficult time explaining it to the membership.
Well, in the meantime, Ramsey has moved on to the central office in Beauregard Parish as a supervisor and has passed the torch to Winnfield High School, which has taken an interest in the entire mess for one simple reason: At the time this proposal was submitted (intended for football schools), it was meant to help schools move away from John Curtis High and Evangel High, which were both in Class 2A but opting to play up in Class 3A.
Now, both Curtis and Evangel have decided to opt out of 2A and play up in 3A, a classification they have occupied before.
The whole mess is created by schools attempting to run away from the powerhouse teams in the state who just seem to reload every year and come back with great teams.
It really doesn’t aim at affecting basketball and other sports at the expense of football, but if it does come up again, the former author of the proposal has the right to pass the item to Winnfield if the school will be present and introduce it. Otherwise, it dies for lack of an author.
Simply phrased, the proposal aims to create four classifications in football with one “Super Class” created at state playoff time.
LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson has declared that Winnfield High has once again submitted a proposal to split the state football playoffs into public (or non-select schools, as they were referred to last year by Ramsey) and select schools which include private, parochial charter and magnet schools for the Super Class.
In essence, without proclaiming it as such, it becomes separation of public and private when it comes time for the playoffs.
Former St. James coach Rick Gaille lost to Evangel in the 2A state finals and said, “In 1996, we had eight seniors starting on defense and we had four freshmen, and Evangel’s average age on defense was older than ours.”
Gaille said the issue has blown up again and part of the reason is that magnet and charter high schools can take open enrollment, an issue which leaves the public schools defenseless.
Vandebilt Catholic Athletic Director Laury Dupont said, “Is that good for high school football? My answer to that is that anytime you divide, you become weak. Anytime you remain together, you grow stronger.”
The LHSAA executive committee has already reclassified the 392 member schools and this issue would really muddy the water again after the fact, if Winnfield brings in off the table for debate.
The 72 Class B and C basketball schools basically have no dog in this race and would prefer to be left out of this quagmire. But it’s not likely to take place with large B schools such as Annacoco, Midland, Rapides, Hornbeck and a few more not wanting to be brought into Class 2A because it would delay their basketball season for over a month.
Over 10 years ago, we saw almost the same scenario come up when a proposal called for splitting public and private schools.
A passionate plea by then-commissioner Tommy Henry, begging the association not to do this for the same reason that was given by Dupont in the above statement, helped kill the proposal.
It remained dormant until last year, when Ramsey brought it back in a different form.
We want peace between the membership but all of this is being caused by basically three 2A schools two of whom will become Class 3A before the January annual meeting, and the other which will remain in 2A.
It’s not possible to please everyone, and even with a Super Class being drafted at playoff time, there are so many unanswered questions on how it would work that it’s not worth hurting the membership to see if it will work.For the complete story and more local news, please subscribe to Jennings Daily News by clicking subscribe or by calling 337-824-3011.
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