LHSAA Annual Convention Recap

Allison B. Hudson

In mid-January I authored a column on the importance of the LHSAA Annual Convention, which was held in Baton Rouge at the end of the month. While some decisions made during the meetings have been met with criticism, I would like to discuss them and how the LHSAA will proceed from the conference moving forward.

As I wrote previously, the business meetings are structured to allow for participation in the democratic rules-making process by allmember schools. Convention specifics are made available to our membership months in advance, and it is up to the members themselves whether or not they will participate. As I had hoped, attendance this year was up from the previous conference—more than 75 percent of our membership was represented.

In group discussions, numerous creative solutions for an issue may be proposed, but often only a few are agreed upon and voted in as new policy. Inevitably, some ideas will be cast aside. This was the fate of some proposals brought forth at the conference.

These included allowing Class B and C schools to compete together in cross-country (voted down by Class C schools) and revisions to ejection policies for student-athletes involved in fights. The difficult decision was made to table discussions of separating classification guidelines for football from the other sanctioned sports until next year. Finally, principals voted against a pay increase for officials. Because this particular matter holds great importance with the LHSAA and with me, I want to dedicate my next column to further discuss it with the focus it deserves.

The LHSAA did see progress in a number of areas. Parliamentary procedure for LHSAA business was improved, as school principals may now designate eligible voting proxies in the event of emergency. The Executive Committee was granted authority to add or remove sports, and the limit of non-faculty coaches enrolled per school was increased from 16 to 24.

LHSAA member schools also approved changes to wrestling divisions, soccer championship finals and policies for recognizing the state’s top bowlers. A proposal to establish a best two-games-out-of-three format for the baseball playoffs was voted down, as was a suggestion for a preseason evaluation period for baseball and softball. Changes to the baseball power ranking system and playoff qualification process were approved, and a softball ranking system was established. Basketball teams were allotted two extra weeks of practice to start the season but were not granted a spring practice. Also, eighth-grade football players meeting all requirements are now able to participate in spring practices at member schools.

 I want to remind you that these are highlights from the General Business Meeting. For specific details on the proposals voted on in January, visit our website.

Change doesn’t always occur in bunches. Often, difficult decisions made through heightened meticulousness and careful consideration are more enduring and more effective than rash judgments. I am confident that LHSAA membership has made and will continue to make sensible choices in the best interest of our schools and student-athletes.