- George Becnel
- January 30, 2014 - 7:45pm
A vote my member schools of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on Thursday seemed to give some River Parish football coaches a sense of resignation.
“Before, people thought it was just a knee-jerk reaction and it was something that would be temporary. The reality is setting in that this is here to stay,” said St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica.
What seems to be here to stay is a split between select and non-select schools within the LHSAA.
On Thursday, a vote on whether to retain the postseason split for football was conducted by each of the five classifications. The vote to end the split failed in all five classifications.
“I’m not shocked. I stated several times before, I think it’s here to stay,” said Lutcher coach Tim Detillier. “I guess everybody thought that because of the small number of schools that there was a possibility that 4A and 5A getting back. That didn’t happen, so it’s obviously here to stay.”
When principals voted 33-24 to maintain the split in Class 5A and 25-15 in Class 4A, the remaining classifications followed suit. The biggest margin came in Class 2A, which voted 34-7 to continue the split.
“I wasn’t surprised at all. It looks like the LHSAA is content to keep things the way they are. We just have live with it or go another direction. Right now, that’s how it will be for another year, the same as it was last year,” said Monica.
“I have the same position I’ve always taken on it. My position on it is it’s a travesty,” Riverside Academy coach Bill Stubbs said. “I don’t think it’s fair for the kids.
“Just like anything that’s political in nature, a lot things take place in this world that I don’t like and I don’t think is fair, but one vote is not going to make difference. You just have to play the game that’s put in front of you.”
Last year’s split expanded the football playoff brackets from five to nine. There were the traditional five brackets within the public (non-select) schools, with four divisions among the select schools. Because of so few select schools in Class 3A and 4A, those schools were combined into Division II. The Class 5A select schools comprised Division I. Class 2A select schools were in Division III and Class 1A schools in Division I.
“I think most would agree nine is too many,” Detillier said. “Maybe it’s time to tweak it now to make it the best we can for the student athlete. We need to somehow get it down so that the state championships don’t have that watered-down look or feel.
“We will not get there in a year or two,” the Lutcher coach continued. “It’s a process. Every year we can refine it until we get it right. It’s kind of like the power points. When we came out with the power points, it was skewered at first, where it wasn’t accurate, it’s pretty accurate now. Hopefully, we can do that with select and non-select.”
Others are not so hopeful.
“I think the effort it would take to get this thing going in the right direction, I don’t think it will come to fruition because I don’t think there is that main driving force,” Stubbs said.
The entire LHSAA membership is scheduled to vote on the issue on Friday and some amending may take place, but after Thursday’s vote, the dye seems cast for 2014.
“I think it’s a shame. I think it’s an embarrassment but I’m 60 years old now and I will play by the rules they put forth,” said Stubbs.