Senate/House subcommittee hears both sides of LHSAA football playoff “split”

        lhsaaThe statements and testimony lasted over four hours at the state Capitol.

        When it was over, both sides of the LHSAA split playoff proposal had more than their say.

        Several Senators and Representatives re-iterated that this session was no more than fact finding. And, they did not want to get involved in what they called the LHSAA’s issue.

        Was it a statement or a warning?

        We may know sometime after March 20th. That’s when the LHSAA executive committee will meet to hear a legal opinion that the association has sought from a third party.

        Executive Director Kenny Henderson said if the opinion says the split playoffs, traditional public schools in five classes others in two classes, is against the LHSAA constitution, proposal 18 could be tossed.

        The playoffs would then return to its five class format.

        Much of what we heard Tuesday in Baton Rouge has been said before.

        Winnfield principal Jane Griffin took several shots at John Curtis Christian school.

        Griffin’s football team lost to Curtis 33-3 in the December 2011 2A football championship.

        “When a school is able to dominate there is something going on,” said Griffin. “It is my 145 pound lineman against their 300 pound division one recruit.”

        Subcommittee chair, State Senator Page Cortez R-Lafayette said his committee wanted to deal with facts, not innuendo.

        None of the public schools principals in attendance were able to furnish specific “recruiting” violations.

        John Curtis headmaster and head football coach J.T. Curtis said his school has nothing for which to apologize. “We do everything we can to be above board,” said Curtis.
“We have nothing to hide.”

        Curtis got a stirring recommendation surprisingly from a public school.

        “If I had a kid that was good, I would by calling coach Curtis too,” said North Vermilion athletic director and head football coach Tommy Byler.

        Curtis was asked from where he drew his students? He said, “all over.”

        “If they have $6,200 (school tuition) they can come. We don’t survive on just air.”

        State representative Wesley Bishop D- New Orleans of District 99 questioned the sensibility of having Orleans Parish public schools in the “select” schools category with private schools.

        Bishop noted that since Hurricane Katrina, all Orleans schools consider the entire parish their attendance zone. But, they still do not choose their students.

        “Is this a flaw in the proposal?” Bishop asked Henderson.

        “Could be,” said Henderson.

        One of the more impassioned pleas came from Lutcher high school athletic director and head football coach Tim Detillier.

        Detillier has won three state football championships at Lutcher in 2003, 2006, and 2008.

        Detillier urged the legislators to “help us solve it, don’t force us.”

        There was a lot of disagreement in the room.

        But, heads nodded when Detillier added an additional nugget.

        “The LHSAA hangs in the balance.”