To select or not to select, that is the LHSAA question

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Woodlawn-Brother Martin 2022 LHSAA football playoffs
(Photo: Parker Waters)

You were just starting to figure out what high school sports in Louisiana were.

You know the routine.

There are select schools.

There are nonselect schools.

Those select schools are private schools.

Those nonselect schools are public schools.

Oh, wait!

That is not necessarily the case.

Some public schools are select schools.

Many were moved from nonselect to select by the LHSAA for last school year.

The poor folks on the select side finally had the makings of reasonable playoff brackets in multiple sports.

An unusual, some would say unholy alliance was formed between private schools and traditional public schools.

The private schools rejoiced in have more schools to compete with in all sports on the select side and the traditional public schools rejoiced in not having to compete with powerful, monolithic public schools that drew from multiple drawing areas as private schools did.

Confusion reigned for the public. Fans were confused. The questions began. They have never really stopped.

I have done my best to explain to fans what one school went from nonselect to select and how it was done by the LHSAA.

I have done my best to explain how we did not know the playoff setup until midway through last football season.

I have done my best to explain why a 4A or Division II school competed in a 4A district during the season and played in a 5A or Division I playoff bracket.

I have done my best previously to explain why a private school competes in the same district as a public school and plays that school in the regular season but cannot do so in the playoffs.

I have tried to explain how a school can compete in Division I football, basketball and baseball but competes in Division II soccer and wrestling or how a school competes in Division II in football but competes in Division III in wrestling.

I have tried to explain why the LHSAA principals, in their finite wisdom, have split the organization in football, basketball, baseball and softball but are not split in track and field, bowling, cross country, power lifting, volleyball, soccer, golf, gymnastics and tennis.

In the midst of trying to explain it to others, I have had to explain it to myself, to a degree.

Are you confused yet?

Now, with a court ruling issued earlier today, the confusion will only grow exponentially.

The latest development conjures up the memory of the old skit featuring Abbott and Costello.

Who’s on first?

I tried to explain on my radio show what happened earlier today.

I tried to explain to an audience of 100 or so fine patrons at the St. Ann’s Men’s Club in Metairie tonight what was going on and why all of this was occurring.

Please do not ask me to explain what today’s ruling means for what the playoff structure will look like this year.

I have no idea.

Before 2022, all private schools were joined by some charter, magnet and lab schools on the select side of playoff competition in the split sports.

Last school year, the LHSAA, without the membership voting on it, expanded the select definition to include all charter schools, some others possessing magnet characteristics and those with schools located in parishes with open enrollment allowed.

Nine schools, including Buckeye, Glenmora, Northwood-Lena, Plainview, Rapides and Tioga from Rapides Parish and Carroll, Neville and Wossman from the Greater Monroe area, sued the LHSAA over its redefining Select schools.

Today’s ruling by a judge Will Jordan in Lafayette temporarily blocks the LHSAA from proceeding with its current playoff designation of which schools are select and which are nonselect.

The ruling is a win for nine schools strongly opposed to the new designations and a loss for the LHSAA, which claimed it used a glossary definition to make the new designations of which schools are select. The schools, through their attorney, Brian Blackwell, argued that the new definition of select was not approved by a two-thirds vote of the LHSAA member schools which the nine schools argued should have taken place. The changes put in place last school year were approved by the LHSAA’s executive committee.

The member schools are set to vote on the LHSAA select/nonselect plan in January. Those member schools elected to postpone a decision to prevent disrupting the playoffs in spring sports in 2023. The LHSAA twice attempted to have a meeting to vote on the plan but that effort did not receive enough support from the 408 member schools in the organization to convent.

The key word on today’s ruling is temporary.

The ruling is not permanent but may have a permanent effect on the current school year in athletic competition.

What happens next is anyone’s guess.

There will be another court date.

There will be more arguments.

There have been several efforts on the part of the LHSAA under Executive Director Eddie Bonine to put Humpty Dumpty together again, back on the wall, so to speak by reuniting schools under one roof with no split.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Last fall, Humpty Dumpty started a slow climb back up the wall. There was a glimmer of light, encouragement for select schools who felt discriminated against by the split.

Now, Humpty Dumpty has had another fall which may turn out to be a great one.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men with the LHSAA may not be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Whether you feel the LHSAA acted improperly with its designations and feel it was the equivalent of taxation without representation for those reclassified, the concept of going back to nine classes in a small state with an unreasonable facsimile of what we call playoffs is discouraging, demoralizing, some would say disastrous and even despicable. Those are all words applicable from those who believe in unification.

That is demoralizing.

Now, we wait for the next court case.

Now, we wait for the next ruling.

Now, we wait for the next confusion.

Now, we wait to see what opponents of the LHSAA say they did not select.

Who gets to select and who does not get to select? That is the question. The answer cannot come soon enough.

That is what member schools and the organization have selected.

The awards folks will be happy if the latest move stands with more trophies and plaques to be produced and awarded.

Who’s on first?

I have no idea.

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Ken Trahan


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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