Split stays: LHSAA principals can’t get super majority to bring select, non-select back together

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BATON ROUGE – A majority of Louisiana High School Athletic Association principals voted Friday to bring the association back together, but it failed to get the two-thirds majority necessary to change the constitution – meaning the organization will remain divided for championships in five sports.

At the general session of the association’s annual convention at the Crowne Plaza, 179 principals voted “yes” and 165 voted “no” on North Vermilion High School principal Tommy Byler’s proposal to come back together with six classes in football and eight in all other sports, with a 1.25 multiplier for select schools.

With 344 principals voting, it would have taken 230 “yes” votes to pass and bring to an end a seven-year split in football and four-year divide in basketball, baseball and softball.

A passionate discussion on both sides preceded the vote.

“It doesn’t fix the competitive balance issue,” said Northwood-Shreveport principal Shannon Wall, who came to the microphone multiple times against unification.

“We are stronger together,” Catholic-New Iberia principal Stella Abadie said. “That’s the best for kids. I would suggest that Mr. Byler’s proposal does address the unfair advantage. If you don’t think (the multiplier) is large enough, make it more.”

Archbishop Hannan principal Fr. Charles Latour made a classroom analogy to drive home his point.

“You don’t punish the class for the acts of two or three people. I think we’re doing that now. We’re divided. We’re not strong divided. Let’s not punish our solidarity for our actions.”

Ironically, the original split proposal in January 2013 got only a simple majority, which was later deemed to have been an unconstitional action.

Earlier, principals voted down by a 230-105 count the executive committee version of a proposal to bring the organization back together with enrollment multipliers.

A series of measures as bylaws for individual sports to bring championships back together also failed.

Baseball-playing schools voted 178-130, basketball-playing schools voted 199-135, football-playing schools voted 167-87 (after approving an amendment for a 1.25 multiplier for select schools) and softball-playing schools voted 173-115 against the proposals. As a bylaw and not a constitutional amendment, each would have only required a simple majority.

Proposals to help select schools better operate their championship events under the split did pass.

Outside of the split, the most discussion was spent on item No. 49 from the block of constitutional changes. Principals voted down the proposal to allow only seventh and eighth graders from Class 2A schools and below to participate. With the no vote, all schools can continue to use seventh and eighth graders as long as the school is governed by one principal.

Items approved included increasing penalties for coaches to fall in line with student-athlete ineligibliity, adding wrestling to the list of sports that allow student-athletes to compete on independent teams, expanding the Division I boys and girls soccer brackets from 24 to 32 and extending the beginning and end of the softball season.

Items voted down that were passed by the executive committee included measures to clean up language regarding financial aid, eliminate camps and clinics hosted by high school coaches, the ability to have an emergency eligibility appeal and eliminating the ability to appeal a lack of administrative control decision.

In other items from Friday’s meeting:

*David Federico of Ecole Classique was elected the new president of the association, replacing Mandeville’s Bruce Bundy, whose term expired. Federico is just the second president from a private school.

*Brother Martin’s Ryan Gallagher and Cabrini’s Yvonne Hrapmann were elected as class representatives to the executive committee.

*The LHSAA announced the 2020 Louisiana High School Hall of Fame class. The star-studded, 10-member class includes former Jesuit standout Rusty Staub along with Billy Cannon, Doug Williams, Brock Berlin, David Toms and Johnny Robinson.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder


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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