The vote in favor of select schools taking control of their own championships could be a watershed for high school sports in the state.
But, only if the selects do it, correctly.
Here’s my advice.
In football, play in the Superdome, but only for the right price.
Play the Division III championship on Friday night at 7 pm, and then three championships on Saturday.
Division IV could kick off at Noon, followed by Division II at 3:30 pm .
Division I would be the finale at 7 pm.
Schools would not practice at the Superdome. Keep the cost to a minimum, but play at the Superdome, even if you had to raise the admission a few dollars to pay for the building.
Would the Allstate Sugar Bowl, title sponsors of all LHSAA championships, agree to allow additional sponsors to be part of such an event?
In baseball, move the Division I baseball tournament to Zephyr Field.
It is the perfect venue. Nice ball park, great parking, clean restrooms.
And, it is in Metairie, within an hour’s drive of the most of the schools possibly competing for the championship. The schools could negotiate directly with Superdome Commission, who has taken control of the facility. With the Baby Cakes likely departing for Wichita after this season, and no guarantees of a Southern League AA team filling the void in the spring of 2020, this should be a no brainer.
The University of New Orleans could also possibly be a spot, or the tournament could return to Tulane’s Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The Tulane venue is quality. The only negative is the parking.
Softball is the one sport that should consider a home venue for the championship. In late April, many of the best college facilities in the state, are being used by the host schools.
And, in basketball, there are several options.
The Cajundome was a great place, and UNO’s Kiefer Lakefront Arena, could be be considered for the right price.
Xavier University’s Convocation center holds about 3,900.
But, I would move the tournament to either Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center or the Alario Center in Westwego.
The Pontchartrain Center holds about 4,500.
With portable seating behind one of the baskets, the Alario would hold 4,000 plus.
Stage several sessions, to accommodate expected large crowds.
And, an intimate building creates atmosphere, something the boys state tournament in Lake Charles and the girls in Alexandria do not possess.
And, finally revenue share between the participating teams.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars to send your girls to Alexandria to play at a beautiful but empty building, have the sessions structured to accommodate the most fans.
For heavens sake, don’t play games at Noon on Tuesday.
Basketball has the most to gain from the surprising vote Friday at the convention in Baton Rouge.
My guess is the public schools who voted to allow the private/parochial schools to run their own championships, could read the tea leaves.
They knew a lawsuit from those schools, or a true split would be on the horizon.
So, the proposals passed.
And, the select schools have a huge opportunity to get it done, correctly.
They must proceed judiciously, and swiftly, to make the state championships what they once were .. special.