New LHSAA Playoff Proposal
Here is the update I promised you regarding potential changes in LHSAA classifications and the impact on our teams. The principals of member schools will meet June 8 to consider a proposal that will get us back to competition in football playoffs between the best teams, public and private, in Class 5A, starting next season.
If approved, the new plan would also put an end to the select/non-select divisions for playoffs in all of the sports in which we compete. If not, football stays the same as last fall and the select/non-select split will expand to basketball, baseball and softball, as previously approved by the principals. That would leave only seven teams in Select Division I softball, so there has been some discussion about combining it with Select Division II.
All other sports, including track, cross country, wrestling, tennis and volleyball are not part of this vote. Schools will continue to compete together in those sports as they traditionally have for LHSAA championships.
Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to compete in the Catholic League in district competition. Under the new proposal, Class 5A would have a 32-team playoff bracket (instead of the nine-team bracket in “Select Division I”) and a total of 64 schools would be in the classification.
Nothing is guaranteed: the new proposal is structured to satisfy the smaller schools that liked the division setup and to appease the private schools that were considering options outside of the LHSAA. The “hybrid compromise plan” has Class 4A returning just like 5A with 62 teams, while Classes 1A, 2A and 3A would play under a newly-defined metro/rural split and Classes B and C would be combined in one classification.
The net result of all of this is a reduction in the number of State Championship games from nine to eight in football. At least in the top two classes, getting the public and private schools back together is the right move and we certainly support the proposal.
Cross your fingers; the new proposal was developed by the School Relations Committee after 13 hours of discussion in four meetings. The executive committee agreed to present it to the membership by vote of 11 to 10.
–Coach J. T. Curtis