It may go down as one of the most noteworthy days in the history of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Executive Committee.
Not only did the committee approve a plan to allow full contact in football on Wednesday, it also set in motion plans for the contact to begin as early as Thursday. It also set stadium capacity at no more than 50 percent. Additionally, the committee voted to start the regular season a week earlier than the original October 8-10 target date. Plus, a scrimmage will be allowed a week prior to the start of the regular season.
That wasn’t all on the committee’s docket.
The committee also announced select and non-select teams will be reunited for the 2020 season, with all championships being held in one venue. No playoff brackets will be larger than 32 teams.
The committee also announced it would push back its two-year reclassification to February due to issues caused by Hurricane Laura.
“In an association, and an executive director in a career, you have defining moments and benchmarks and I truly believe that has transpired in the last five to ten business days are benchmarks for the association,” LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said. “I think it proves we need some normality for our student-athletes, our coaches, our teachers, and our families and communities. I truly believe sports is an important piece of that.
“What our executive committee did in assisting this office to do so was a good day. It was a good day across our state in all sports.”
The newly adopted schedule allows the football regular season to begin October 1-3. Despite moving the schedule up a week, it will remain an eight-game season and will allow for limited fans in the stands.
“We need bodies in the stands,” declared Bonine. “We need to try to bring this thing back as normally as we can within the guidelines. Kids need to play; parents need to watch them play. We need to get back to that sooner rather than later.
There will be no jamborees, but scrimmages can be played September 24-26. The first week of the regular season will be October 1-3. The season will begin with what would have been Week 3 of the normal 10-game regular season.
The Prep Classic will be played December 26-28 at the Superdome in New Orleans. Over the course of the three days, champions will be crowned in Class 1A through 5A among the non-select schools and Divisions I, II and III among select schools.