Bonine: LHSAA has 3 proposals to ‘put association back together’ in January

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NEW ORLEANS – LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said Tuesday that “the association will not look like it looks right now” after its annual meeting next month.

“There were three proposals submitted” for the annual meeting, Bonine said at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. “(All three proposals) will put the association back together.”

The Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Prep Classic this weekend marks the seventh straight year the football championships have been split into select and non-select championships, bumping the number of state champions from five to nine.

What Bonine calls the “split of the split” occurred in January, when principals voted to allow select and non-select championship events in football, basketball, baseball and softball to be held at different sites.

Three select championships were played at different venues last weekend, the first time since 1980 that multiple venues were used for football championship games.

“For 38 years, the Prep Classic has been at the … Superdome, and for a reason,” Bonine said. “I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again. You can’t put a price tag on the opportunity to play (there).

“I am guilty by association because I’m the executive director. We, as the LHSAA, have a goal and a motivation to do what’s best for every student in the state, regardless of where you go to school. The experience is one that the student-athlete will the remember, their parents, the fanbase, the bands.”

Bonine reminded the audience that the decision to split venues was made by the principals. Of the 404 LHSAA members, 93 are defined as “select” schools, including 77 football-playing schools.

“Sixty-six voted” in January, Bonine said of the select schools. “Forty-four voted not to play in the Prep Classic.

“The principals make decisions. We made it work.”

Six games will be played in two days this weekend – the five non-select titles and the Division IV championship between Catholic-Pointe Coupee and Ouachita Christian.

Why is Division IV in the Dome and not Divisions I-III?

When a vote was taken in late summer offering select schools the opportunity to be a part of the Prep Classic, “they had a majority that wanted to come to the Superdome,” Bonine said. “Those two schools, they put in a request. The executive committee voted unanimously.

“That’s doing stuff for the best interest of student-athletes.”

The organization’s 100th anniversary comes up in 2020.

“For 100 years, the LHSAA has been putting on state championships,” Bonine said. “Nothing would satisfy me more” than a unified organization heading into the 2020-21 year.

“You never know what happens at that convention,” he said. “My message isn’t going to change; it’s going to be the same. You never know until the vote is cast.

“There will not be any question of what they’re voting on and where I stand.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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