Cenla coaches weigh in on LHSAA approving “Select” definition

The ongoing debate over the definition of what a “select” school is under the LHSAA has seemingly come to an end.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 11:14 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The ongoing debate over the definition of what a “select” school is under the Louisiana High School Athletic Association has seemingly come to an end.

In a packed room in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, October 3, 68 percent of high school principals approved the current “select” term moving forward, which has major playoff implications for many schools in Rapides Parish.

With Tuesday’s vote finalized, the LHSAA will keep the same playoff structure for all sports that were in place during the 2022-2023 school year. Under the definition, which was originally approved by the LHSAA executive committee last summer, open enrollment schools, magnet schools and charter schools were added to the select side of the playoff brackets with private schools. Every public high school in Rapides Parish was moved due to being under open enrollment. Bunkie High School and Avoyelles Charter will also compete on the select side of the bracket.

Back in August, a Louisiana judge granted a temporary injunction in favor of nine schools, six from Rapides Parish, in a lawsuit against the LHSAA over the select definition. The ruling underscored the contention that every school should have had a say in the criteria for the new definition and not just done by an executive committee.

LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said following the vote that while the temporary injunction was still legally in place, legal counsel will work to make sure Tuesday’s vote puts an end to the legal debate.

“We’re excited about the challenges in front of us regardless of how it would have gone today,” said Alexandria Senior High head football coach Thomas Bachman. “We’re more concerned with the things we can control.”

The motivation behind the new definition was to create better competition come playoff time. Pineville head coach Bryant Bell said while he feels the playoff brackets in all sports were more competitive last year, he did acknowledge some of the difficulties in the decision.

“It definitely makes things tougher for us as a football program here,” said Bell. “I think it is a positive for our school and athletic program as a whole. I think it has created a more fair and competitive playoff system. Personally, I was skeptical at first as I liked what we had last year and I would like to see it again this year.”

Under the current playoff formats, schools are reclassified into groups of four “Select” and “Non-Select” divisions for football, baseball, softball and boys’ and girls’ basketball.

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