BATON ROUGE, L.a. (WGNO) — The Louisiana High School Athletic Association is splitting three major high school sports into select and non-select championships. At the Annual Convention, principals voted 182-120 to split basketball, baseball and softball.
“I’m not about giving a trophy to everyone. I think you need to earn that, I do. But if you compete against schools of likeness, then there’s a champion,” said Norman Booker, Principal of Many High School.
There will be 12 champions for basketball, baseball and softball. Principal Booker proposed the split. He believes private and charter, or select, schools have an unfair advantage with recruiting student athletes. He didn’t want to wait any longer to propose the split. Even though LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine pleaded with principals to ‘pump the brakes’ and wait a few weeks to come up with a different plan.
“From what I heard, depending on who you talk to, (it’s) not a good day for Louisiana high school sports. But, 6 out of 10, if not more, have stated that’s where they think we should go. That’s the direction we’re going to go at this particular juncture until someone tells me differently,” said Bonine.
Wednesday, principals voted to reinstate the division of select and non-select schools for the football post season. The vote reverses Bonine’s announcement a few weeks ago stating the football championships will go back to five champions.
All major sports are divided in Louisiana.
“I’ve been in this association for 44 years. I’ve seen it go through difficult times. I was a player when we integrated the Association. I saw how we worked ourselves through those problems and difficulties to have one of the best associations in the country. Now we divide? I thought we got past that in the ’60’s,” said J.T. Curtis, Headmaster and Head Football Coach for John Curtis Christian High School.
Private and Charter schools never wanted to split.
Now there are concerns with major sponsors, like the All State Sugar Bowl, who have the right to pull out their sponsorship of the LHSAA because of further division.