LHSAA basketball, wrestling changes approved at annual meeting

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BATON ROUGE — The format for state high school basketball tournaments in Louisiana will change beginning in 2019 after a vote of Louisiana High School Athletic Association principals at their annual meeting Friday.

The select state semifinals and finals for both girls and boys will be played on one week, with the non-select girls and boys deciding their state champions the following week, after LHSAA principals voted 208-108 to authorize the change.

Currently, all girls championships are contested in one week, with the boys championships the following week. Some select schools have had up to a two-week break at the end of the regular  season because of byes in the bracket to accommodate the championships finishing at the same time.

Now, under the ratified proposal, all select brackets will be 16 teams.

Also approved Friday by a 58-11 vote was a measure giving wrestling coaches authority to form a committee to choose a site for the state championship, in conjunction with the executive committee. The wrestling championship has been embroiled in controversy in recent years because of the LHSAA’s decision to move from the southern part of the state, where the large majority of programs are based, to Bossier City.

While the basketball and wrestling changes gained approvals, several measures on the agenda that would have reunited state championships on a sport-by-sport basis all failed, as did a proposal to expand the soccer playoff bracket from 24 to 32 teams.

Approved overwhelmingly was a proposal to allow schools to use any football approved by the National Federation of High Schools at the LHSAA Prep Classic, once the LHSAA’s exclusive contract with Baden expires. All but 12 of 257 principals voted in favor of the change.

Two other notable football proposals were approved – one to provide a monetary benefit to schools who lose home games because of a forfeit and another to provide schools the opportunity to have a fifth non-faculty coach on staff.

A proposal on the original agenda to limit 7-on-7 football activities to school-run programs was deferred earlier in the week.

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