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Bro. Neal Reviews LHSAA Principals’ Meeting with Principal Gallagher

Article written by Brother Neal Golden, S.C. '57 CJ

How would you summarize the way the meeting went?
“Outside of not being able to reunify, everything went pretty well.”

Did you think there was a good chance the select and non-select schools would reunify for the playoffs?
“No, I didn’t. When I saw that we got the simple majority (51%) but not the super majority (2/3) for Tommy Byler’s proposal to reunify, I was disappointed.”

What was his proposal?
“His proposal to reunite the playoffs was to amend the LHSAA Constitution to split football into six classifications and every other sport into eight classifications and use a 1.25 enrollment multiplier in determining the classification of select schools.”

Did that vote give you hope that other proposals that needed only 51% would pass?
“There was a buzz in the room on the select side that we might be able to get baseball and basketball back together because it took only a simple majority. So if everyone voted the way they did for Tommy’s proposal, we would get that. But it didn’t happen.”

What votes were you pleased with?
“We were able to get the eligibility of freshmen straightened away so that it doesn’t hurt our students. That proposal was a handbook change that was already made by the executive committee. A freshman who lives outside your district and didn’t attend your school in 8th grade couldn’t play varsity or junior varsity athletics for one year. The principals rescinded that change by a majority vote.”

The summary of the meeting in the Advocate said that 9th graders were eligible at a school only if they attended that school in 7th AND 8th grade. Was that correct?
“No. If he comes from within your school system – the Archdiocese of New Orleans in our case – he is eligible. I think in general there is a lot of confusion about all of the different school systems in the state. Many people don’t realize that some Catholic schools are set up as junior/senior high schools, some are 8-12. They don’t realize that in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, most 8th graders are still at their elementary schools whereas in New Orleans none of them are.”

What was another outcome that you like?
“The select schools getting their tournament committee recognized is important for organizing our championships. Now the LHSAA will be involved with us and help us stage our championship games.”

Was there a proposal to rescind last year’s vote that allows the select schools to run their own playoffs?
"I was surprised that there wasn’t.

Has the plan for the select school basketball championships been finalized?
“As of right now, basketball is set. The higher seeded school hosts the championship game at its gymnasium.”

Could a host school move the game to a neutral site?
“If a gym is too small and not safe enough to hold a capacity crowd, I think they would have to play it somewhere else. I’ve talked to a number of principals and athletic directors who have said they couldn’t host the championship in their gym because it’s not big enough. I think I’m one of the few saying, ‘We’ll host it here if we’re fortunate enough to be in that position.’”

What was the general tone of the meeting?
“The attitude of the room was the most amicable in the last three years. There wasn’t nearly as much animosity as in the past.”

Does that give hope of reuniting in the future?
“The general sentiment when we left the meeting is that we’re not getting back together any time soon and I don’t even think there’ll be a proposal in the next few years. Tommy Byler wants to tweak his proposal and try to get the 50 additional votes it needs to pass.”

 - Bro. Neal Golden, S.C. '57 CJ

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