In something that has been a continuing theme so far this year, the first day of the LHSAA Annual Convention started off in what, honestly, was quite a boring fashion.
After all of the fireworks from the last few years, the association seems to be in a much calmer place heading into the general business meeting Friday.
Here is a rundown of some of the topics discussed in the executive committee meeting that took place.
1. Financial information
According to a certified public accountant, the LHSAA’s overall financial status has improved this year following an audit review.
Legal costs are down, which led to a growth in net assets and the LHSAA has nearly paid off the office building that was recently purchased without dipping into the investment account the association maintains.
The LHSAA currently holds $2.59 million in net assets, 77 percent of which is equity, which is an ideal balance between equity and liability, according to the CPA.
Expenses for the LHSAA went up 2.7 percent, which is within the norm in regards to inflation. Anything above a 3 percent increase is seen as unusual.
The one stated negative, given by the LHSAA’s own financial team following the CPA’s report, was that ticket sales for the football state championships fell this year.
The LHSAA is attempting to address the falling ticket sales by bringing the state championship event back into one weekend, rather than split the games between two weekends.
Both Terrance Williams, who is Louisiana High School Coaches’ Director, and LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said they have worked on a plan to return the games to one weekend and both recommended doing so.
Bonine said after discussions with Williams the working idea would be to have two games on Thursday, three games on Friday and four games on Saturday. Under that plan, only Saturday would have a game starting at 10 a.m.
2. Bonine receives favorable rating from executive committee
The executive director evaluation committee within the LHSAA’s Executive Committee returned a favorable rating to Bonine following an executive session toward the end of the Wednesday meeting.
This comes after a tumultuous summer between Bonine and certain members of the executive committee.
Publicly obtained emails showed a contingent of the executive committee, led by Winnfield principal Jane Griffin, attempted to fire or buy out Bonine but were eventually unsuccessful.
On July 1, 2016, Griffin sent an email to Steve Bartlett and Al Simmons stating, “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.”
Despite this email, Griffin said she had no idea about any attempt to fire Bonine to the Executive Committee during the LHSAA redistricting meetings.
3. Baseball and softball championships in Sulphur
Eric Zartler of the Lake Charles Visitors and Convention Bureau addressed the executive committee about some of the changes that have occurred as the state championships events have expanded under the split.
The Fast Pitch 56 will now be the Fast Pitch 96 following the expansion of the split to softball, baseball and basketball.
Zartler said Sulphur had to hire an event housing company to handle living accommodations for schools that qualified for the tournament, something the bureau has handled themselves in past years.
Also, teams who are traveling from more than 75 miles to the tournament will be guaranteed a hotel room whereas schools inside that radius will no longer be guaranteed a room.
4. Health and safety
The Sports Advisory Committee gave a report that focused largely on concussions and concussion protocols in the state.
Bonine himself mentioned the need for a concussion management protocol based on conversations with other states at the National Federation of State High School Associations meeting.
Bonine said one problem arising in some states is athletes accusing schools, saying the concussion they suffered while competing in their sports programs have hindered them later in life.
There was also talk of an emergency action protocol at all sporting venues.
5. Others news and notes
- Williams said Iowa Principal Mike Oakley’s plan to eliminate classes B and C as well as pare down the football classes from five to four has started to gain momentum from coaches in the Class 4 and Class 3A ranks. The plan continues to be controversial and sparked longest period of sustained discussion during the meeting.