After a football state championship event that saw low attendance and late start times, the LHSAA looks to be moving toward a football state championship event that takes place over one weekend rather than two.
No, Select and Non-Select sides won’t be joining back together. But a three-day state championship event that runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday and has a mix of Select and Non-Select teams playing each day appears to be in the works.
At least, that was the recommendation given to the LHSAA by the Louisiana High School Coaches Association through spokesman Terrence Williams in his report to LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine and the Executive Committee at a meeting Tuesday.
“There’s been a lot of talk the last couple of years about it, but it really started to gain steam over the last couple of weeks,” Williams said. “We still want to do things together, and that was the major talking point, trying to put everyone back on the same weekend.
“The football coaches brought it up at their business meeting, and it was unanimous.”
Bonine said after talking with several representatives from the New Orleans Saints, their preference would be for the football state championship to return to one week as well.
The other major item of business was the approval of the general business agenda for the LHSAA Annual Convention held in January at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Baton Rouge.
Although last year’s meeting proved to be particularly explosive and culminated in the deepening of the split playoff format to basketball, baseball and softball, this year’s meeting seems to be shaping up to be a much calmer affair.
Although the agenda is not publicly available yet, the two most controversial items appear to be: 1. The combination of classes A, B and C into one class, effective immediately. 2. Removing the voting rights of classes B and C on football issues.
The combination of classes A, B, C would through the association into a major flux and force the LHSAA to redistrict once again. This would be a pretty dramatic change to the current format of the LHSAA.
As for potentially forbidding Class B and C schools from voting on football, some LHSAA Executive Committee members voiced their concern about the potential “monster” it could create, i.e. forbidding schools who don’t participate in swimming to vote on swimming issues and how the LHSAA could enforce the rule.
The LHSAA will meet again Wednesday to finalize the basic districts for the next two years for submission to the final agenda and ultimate approval by the principals in the state in January.
Although most of the afternoon went off without a hitch, a public comment session by ESPN’s Todd Black set off the most explosive exchange of the meeting.
Black, who shared and released several emails of LHSAA Executive Committee members and other principals throughout the state with The Daily Advertiser, was confronted by Winnfield principal Jane Griffin during and after his proposal.
In public letters, Black has stated Griffin was in communication with former LHSAA Executive Commissioner Tommy Henry and also conspired with other LHSAA Executive Committee members to fire or buy out current LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine.
Griffin adamantly denied she knew anything about a plot to remove Bonine and also stated she only emailed Henderson once.
However, in an email obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with the Advertiser, Griffin wrote to Steve Bartlett and Al Simmons of her parish that, “We have a move going on with EC to fire Bonine. Just wanted you to know and be informed. Don’t know where it will go.”
Other emails also seem to call into question Griffin’s denial of communication with former Commissioner Tommy Henry .
In an email sent on March 21, 2016 at 3:54, Griffin sent an email to Henry from her school email address stating, “HB is in education committee Wednesday. I suggested that Bonnafee send info to all principals and he did. Many have let me know they are calling representatives. What are you hearing? Do we need to be there?”
In an email sent on March 23, 2016 at 1:17 p.m., Griffin sent an email to Henry from her school email address stating, “…as executive director, it did not seem that he tried to defend LHSAA. Is this in conflict of his contract? Do we have grounds???”
In an email sent on March 23, 2016 at 1:56 p.m., Griffin sent an email to Henry from her school email address stating, “…In contract page 4, 7 Termination: this agreement may be terminated at any time by a majority vote of the members of the Association’s Executive Committee present and voting under the circumstances: Under paragraph A “For Cause…”, c. Administrator willfully engaged in gross misconduct that could have been materially and demonstrably injurious to the Association as determined by the Association Executive Committee…What do you think????”