A classic cut: LHSAA pays out less to teams in Superdome football championships

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The check is in the mail from the LHSAA, and the schools receiving aren’t happy about the amounts.

Several schools who played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Championships in December at the Superdome say they received far less than expected.

De la Salle high school director of athletics Tony Bonura said the school was expecting to get a check for $11,797. Bonura said the check he received from the LHSAA was $6,150.

De la Salle, who lost to University Lab in the Division II championship, was expecting to get a $10,000 guarantee, and $1 for every ticket the sold at the school.

“That’s a cut of 43 percent,” Bonura told WGNO Sports.

Bonura said De la Salle cleared $4,356 more after expenses, for its semifinal game against St Thomas More at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium. Bonura said that was after the 10 percent that goes to directly to the LHSAA, paying the game officials, paying travel for St Thomas More, and splitting the gate.

Edna Karr head coach Brice Brown said his school was supposed to receive $10,900, but instead received a check for $6,085. Karr won the class 4A championship, defeating Lakeshore.

LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine, reached by phone from the Girls Top 28 in Alexandria, said to his knowledge this is the first time that schools did not receive their “guarantee.”

But, he said, that term is misleading.

Bonine said there is a formula in the LHSAA handbook for payouts, and that formula was followed. He said the rental alone at the Superdome under the new contract is about $500,000.

Bonine said when additional expenses are factored, it costs more than $700,000 for the LHSAA to play nine state championship games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“We are in there on Tuesday,” said Bonine. “And, when practices and games start, the lights are on for more than 17 hours a day.”

“We did everything by the book,” said Bonine.

Catholic New Iberia head football coach Brent Indest said perhaps it is time for football championships to leave the Superdome and explore other sites.

Catholic New Iberia defeated Notre Dame of Crowley for the Division III championship.

“If we played the game at Cajun Field, us and Notre Dame would have made more than $60,000,” said Indest.

“Is it time to play football championship games at home sites?” asked Bonura. “Common sense says we have to look at it.”

Bonine has heard the criticisms. He said each school in the Superdome Classic was notified that their game check would shrink. But, he staunchly defends the Superdome as the venue for the LHSAA Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic.

“The Superdome Classic is the Superdome Classic,” said Bonine. “We just have to find a way to make it work.”

A reporter asked Bonine, is it time to consider other venues?

“Absolutely not.”