Select/nonselect, tourney success factor on agenda
LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson discusses items Thursday that will be considered during the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s annual convention Jan. 29-31 in Baton Rouge. Henderson met with school officials in Morgan City to preview items at the annual convention. Among the items up for discussion are the repeal of the select/nonselect playoffs for football and a tournament success factor that would affect high schools who are dominate in one or more sports. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Attempts to erase the current select/nonselect football playoff system, a formula for determining where high schools will be placed in one or more major sports based on their dominance in their respective sports as well as potential discussion on eligibility and transfer issues, all will await LHSAA member principals when they converge on Baton Rouge Jan. 29-31 for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s annual convention.
To give area schools a heads-up on what their principals will vote on later this month, the LHSAA kicked off a series of meetings around the state with a gathering Thursday morning at the Yvonne Anne Adams Life Center, hosted by Central Catholic High School.
At Thursday’s meeting, LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson gave an extensive look at what the agenda will entail.
Among those items are the repeal of the select/nonselect legislation, which will be tackled on two fronts.
Prior to a vote at the general convention Jan. 31 on the matter via an item offered by E.D. White Principal Michelle Chiasson that would eliminate the select/nonselect playoff brackets for football that member principals overwhelmingly approved at the 2013 convention, each of the football playing classes has offered their own item to bring their classification back into their respective classes for the postseason.
Currently, after the regular season, the classes are split and the select schools compete in division for state titles, while the nonselect schools remain in their respective classes.
Henderson warned that while if some classes choose to stay separate in the class meetings on Jan. 30 and others choose to rejoin their respective classes for postseason play, if on the Jan. 31 vote, the entire organization votes for all classes to come back together, it would negate any vote to stay separate that was achieved in the class meeting.
Class 1A’s proposal to come back together for postseason play was offered by Central Catholic Principal Vic Bonnaffee.
If the postseason remains split, the LHSAA’s Executive Committee is offering a proposal to trim the number of teams that will make the postseason in Class 1A and its select version, Division IV, to 16 teams because there are less than the 32 teams in a standard bracket after select/nonselect brackets were made.
Also up for discussion this year is a new format that will affect highly successful schools’ placement in one or more sports every two years, in conjunction with reclassification.
In the new format, any school that wins a state title and accumulates six or more points in the two-year period can be moved up one classification in the next reclassification cycle in one or more of the following sports: football, volleyball, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball and boys and girls soccer.
The points in the proposal, authored by the School Relations Committee, are totaled using the following formula: regional game winner (one point), quarterfinal game winner (two points), semifinal game winner (three points) and state championship (four points).
Using data from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, when schools were reclassified for this year, nearly 40 schools would have moved up under the proposal.
Henderson said the idea for the proposal, called a tournament success factor, came from what is being done in Indiana.
After moving up, following the completion of the next two years of athletic competition, if a school still earns six or more points, they will move up another class for the next two years.
If schools achieve four or five points during the two-year period in their new class, then that school will stay in that classification unless their enrollment rises, meaning they would be bumped up to the next class.
If a school achieves a point total of three or four points, they will move back down unless their enrollment numbers dictate they should stay in the same class.
Another proposal, authored by the executive committee, seeks to implement this same tournament success factor but only in football.
Also at the convention, the executive committee will ask the membership in attendance to consider a series of items that deal with eligibility.
While the items, according to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, must be tabled for a year after introduction this year, they can be discussed and voted on this year if two-thirds of the attending principals vote to take it off the table for discussion.
Among the items are to make the civil parish boundary line the attendance zones for member schools located in those parishes.
If approved, that would mean students entering a school with the potential to play varsity athletics — either in junior high or ninth grade — can declare their school of first choice from any school in the parish.
Under a separate transfer rule, if they switch to any subsequent school for reasons that are not a bona fide move or are not approved under LHSAA exceptions, then the students will be ineligible for a calendar year before being able to compete in varsity competition.
But under the rule, if students transfer back to their school of first choice at any time during their high school career, they will be eligible to compete immediately.
Also under the transfer proposal, public school students will be allowed to switch schools with immediate eligibility if they receive an administrative transfer in which the principal of the school they are leaving from approves the transfer as well as the principal of the school they are going to and the superintendent or his designee from the school district sign off.
Despite the proposal of the expanded attendance zone, however, students in public schools in their particular parishes must adhere to what their local school boards dictate as attendance zones, meaning that local school boards’ attendance zones will supersede what the LHSAA’s zones are.
In St. Mary Parish public schools, high school students who live east of the Atchafalaya River attend Morgan City High School, according to the parish’s zoning mandates, while those who live west of the Atchafalaya River and in a portion of Bayou Vista attend Berwick High.
Students who live in the remainder of Bayou Vista to the Calumet Cut attend Patterson High School, Aguillard said.
“Likewise, similar zones have been established for the remaining high schools: Centerville, Franklin and West St. Mary,” Aguillard said.
Currently, Central Catholic follows the attendance zone of Morgan City High School, so Bonnaffee said students who transfer in outside of that zone would be ineligible to play varsity athletics for a calendar year.
Henderson said the proposals would help schools from losing juniors and seniors in high school to other schools.
In 2013, he noted that six students statewide played for a state championship in basketball who did not attend that school the year before. “And it was a bonafide, it was a legal transfer that they made,” he said.
According to LHSAA transfer data from the entire state that doesn’t count first-year freshmen, of the 931 students who transferred last school year, 501 of those students, or 54 percent, transferred within the parish.
“So kids are not transferring because mom, dad are getting new jobs,” he said.
Also in another proposal that will be taken up this year after being tabled for the previous year, there will be new age requirements for those who are competing in prep sports.
While currently, if students turn 19 years old after Sept. 1, they are eligible for competition for the entire year, that could be subject to change, according to the proposal.
In the proposal, students who turn 19 years old after Sept. 1 but before Nov. 1 will be ineligible for winter sports (basketball, powerlifting, soccer, indoor track and field and wrestling), while those who turn 19 before Feb. 1 will be ineligible for spring sports (baseball, bowling, golf, gymnastics, softball, tennis and outdoor track and field).
While the rule is meant to curb holdbacks, Henderson admitted it could be a “logistical nightmare.”