Video: Sugar Bowl’s Hundley hopes ‘cooler heads will prevail’ in LHSAA split

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Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Jeff Hundley said Tuesday that his organization is displeased with the ongoing division within the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

The Sugar Bowl has served as primary sponsor of state high school championships since 2014. The football championships were already split into select and non-select by that time, but since then, the basketball, baseball and softball championships have split, and beginning this fall, they will be conducted at different sites.

“We’re not happy about what’s going on with the LHSAA right now, between the publics and privates,” Hundley said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club at Rock ‘n’ Bowl. “We’re hopeful they’ll find a way to smoke a peace pipe.

“We got in this to support all kids. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.”

The LHSAA sponsors more than 50 amateur events annually, including the state championship events. Much of that is thanks to its annual sponsorship with Allstate, which is up for renewal.

“That’s a very important negotiation,” said Hundley, who will be on a conference call Tuesday afternoon on the subject. “We need to make headway in order to continue to support amateur athletics in this city.”

It’s a big year for college football, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this fall, and for the Sugar Bowl, which also is part of the hosting efforts for the College Football Playoff national championship Jan. 13 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“We have a big year this year, needless to say,” said Hundley.

The process of picking title game sites is significantly different than in the Bowl Championship Series era, where it rotated among the major bowl sites.

“We had to compete against other cities and it was purely, at the end of the day, a financial decision, who can help underwrite other costs,” Hundley said.

“We’re often fighting outside of our weight class with other cities who have bigger corporate communities,” he added. “When Dallas hosted the first (CFP) national championship game, they got $15 million from the state of Texas. We will get $4 million (from Louisiana).

“The Sugar Bowl has pledged $8 million of its own money. We’re hopeful that the state and others, if we have the opportunity to bid again, will be able to step up and help us.”

The CFP title event will also include a music festival at Woldenberg Park and a fan interactive event at the Morial Convention Center.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

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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