Select schools form new association; hope to unite LHSAA
LAFAYETTE -- Unity, not division.
That was the message that the LHSAA select school administrators wanted to portray after their meeting Monday at Tuerlings High School.
During the meeting, 70 of the LHSAA’s 108 select schools voted to ratify the constitution which forms the Louisiana Select Association (LSA). The LSA also chose a CEO, a deputy CEO, approved board members and held talks about the upcoming 2019-20 state championship sites for their schools.
The only school to vote no to the adoption of the constitution was Evangel Christian. Abstaining from the vote were Ouachita Christian, Lee High, McKinley High and Scotlandville. There were no representatives from the LHSAA on hand for the meeting.
Catholic High of Baton Rouge Athletic Director JP Kelly was selected as the inaugural CEO of the organization, while Catholic of New Iberia principal Stella Arabie was tabbed as the Deputy CEO.
According to Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper, the LSA was created to give the select schools a collective voice that did not exist in the pass and not a way for those schools to branch away from the LHSAA.
“This organization will still be under the umbrella of the LHSAA,” stated Harper. “But, it will finally give the select schools a unified voice when it comes to voting on things related to the LHSAA. I really think that this is going to be good for the select schools. It will finally give us what we haven’t had in the past.”
Harper went on to say the purpose of creating the LSA was not to created more division within the LHSAA between select and non-select schools, but rather it was a tool to bring back the organization to the way it was before the split.
“What was done at the meeting should not be thought of as a way for the select schools to end their ties with the LHSAA,” Harper said. “Rather, it is a way for the select schools to aid in the process of bringing the LHSAA back together once again. I am one that wants to see the LHSAA unified once again in all aspects.”
The concept of the LSA was born out of the LHSAA’s approval to allow the select school to move their championship events away from the traditional sites. On Monday, the LSA saw its first light of day.
Following the vote on the constitution, the schools moved in to break away meetings, group according to the enrollment and each individual sports. One of the things that was told to the attendees was that several universities were interested in hosting a championship event for the select schools.
Universities that were mentioned were ULL, Tulane, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern. In fact, ULL was said to want to host these events at no cost to the LSA with the exception of security and any other expenses occurred, all the while allowing the schools to keep the gate money.
But, before the LSA could even begin to think about any one location to hold their championship events, the schools in the association would have to give up their rights to host said championship event. As it stands now, either the higher seeded team would host the championship or the contest would be played at a neutral sited agreed upon between the two competitors for that title.
The LSA would also have to seek sponsors for those championship events that would not conflict with the LHSAA, since they are still apart of that organization.
Asked if he thought the smaller select schools are afraid that the larger schools would take over the organization and shove the smaller schools to the side for their own interest, St. Ed’s head coach James Shiver shrugged off the notion.
“A majority of the LSA is made up of smaller schools,” commented Shiver. “As of now, I think that all the schools are wanting what is best for the common good of the organization. I could be wrong, but I do not think that will become a problem.”