Will LHSAA take first step to undo its playoff mess?

Sometimes you just need to admit that something you did was wrong. Maybe it was a good idea at the time, but times change. You gave it a shot, but it just isn’t happening.

And then there are the voting members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

The LHSAA executive officers didn’t unilaterally implement the select/non select playoff systems that has been in place since 2014. That was done by a vote of people who should have known better at the time. It was enacted by the school principals for reasons that are as weak today as they were eight years ago. They hit it out of bounds off the first tee and now they get a chance for a mulligan.

Well, sort of.

The streamlined LHSAA convention is being held this week in Baton Rouge and among the proposals is a unification in Class 5A for all sports.

Because this applies only to an individual class, it just requires a simple majority, not a two-thirds majority. That would seem to make it easier to pass.

There may be a little bit of an end run at play here. It seemed unlikely that the original split, which was done by a simple majority vote, would be undone by a vote that would now require a two-thirds majority.

But …

Individual classes can pass legislation that requires 50.1 percent majority. So if Class 5A leads the way, might others follow since the road would now be paved?

The feeling in Baton Rouge as today’s vote approaches is that nobody knows. Some believe it will pass, other think it has no shot. In football, there’s a pretty severe imbalance in the two types. In the 2021 season, there were 52 non-select football schools and only 12 select. In Class 1A, the ratio was 30/27, so what might be good for 5A might not be as meaningful for Class 1A.

If it were to happen, it would seem to reason other classes would follow. But this is the LHSAA; “seem to reason” doesn’t typically apply.

It would seem to reason that if you are going to split in a few sports, then you would split in them all. Why isn’t there a split for track or soccer?

It would seem to reason that schools wouldn’t be deemed “select” by some arbitrary percentage deemed by the voting body. If school zones are so sacrosanct, then why wouldn’t just one student from outside the zone make that school “select”?

It would seem to reason that those with voting privileges would notice the imbalance in the scores of playoff games. How many non-competitive games do you have to see before you realize this isn’t working?

There are so many ridiculous aspects to the select/non select setup for high school athletics in Louisiana and most of them have been detailed since, well … about 2014. But the principals who voted for the split in 2014 aren’t necessarily the ones who are around today.

There’s another matzah ball hanging out there to consider – might the definition of what constitutes a “select” school change? Some magnet schools are select, some are not. Some charter schools are, some are not.

A principal might be voting from one perspective and then find out it’s something they hadn’t planned on.

But what makes the most sense today is the same thing that made sense eight years ago. Address the problems that caused the split in the first place. Work really hard to fix them. And vote for what’s best for the entire organization, not just one school or one classification.

That change isn’t going to happen overnight. But today could be a step in that direction.