In the days leading up to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association annual convention, the general consensus was that in football Classes 5A and 4A would reunite and 3A, 2A and 1A would remain split.
But in class business on Thursday, the majority of the principals voted to remain split in all five classes meaning that next year’s football season will remain as it was this past season with nine state championships.
“It didn’t pass,” Teurlings Catholic Principal Michael Boyer said. “It didn’t pass in any of the classes, so we will remain split again next season. I wouldn’t use the word surprised because I’m not surprised. I was cautiously optimistic that 5A and 4A would come back together, but it didn’t happen.”
In addition to the vote by each class to remain split in football, the principals also voted overwhelmingly to approve 8-man football for Class 1A, B and C schools.
“There was an overwhelming vote to have eight-man football,” Boyer said. “Currently, if a B or C school wanted to play football it has to play in 1A in all sports.
Now, it is going to allow those schools to play football and their other sports can still play in its appropriate class. The only thing undecided is if the select and non-select scenario would be applied.”
Once the voting was completed and the results were in confirming the split for at least another year, emotions ran high.
“There certainly wasn’t any hand-shaking,” Boyer said. “Things got pretty emotional between a couple of schools.”
With the split set to remain in place, the growing concern is whether an amendment would be made in an effort to get a split in all sports.
“There’s a protocol that can deal with any possible amendment,” Boyer said.
With the decision to remain split in all classes, the majority of principals have sent a clear message that they like things the way they are and that’s concerning to many people including Boyer.
“The message is they like the way things are and they are not looking for change,” Boyer said. “My fear is that because of that they are going to vote down a lot of the legislation that we packaged together” to try and bring the association back together.”
Among those items that could be affected by Thursday’s vote are the civil parish boundary line, tournament success factor and the transfer rule, all of which Boyer believes is in the best interest of the association.
“All of those are fixes to some of the problems that we have,” Boyer said. “So, yes there’s some concern that those things will be voted down.”