Lawmaker to table bill threatening Louisiana athletic association

April 1, 2016 / Athletic Administration
A Louisiana lawmaker plans to table a bill that would have threatened how the state athletic association runs its postseason tournaments.

LHSAAThe Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) voted in January to split the playoffs in all major sports between select (private and charter) and non-select (public) schools. That included basketball, baseball, softball and football.

It didn’t take long for legislators to take notice. State Rep. Kirk Talbot responded by proposing House Bill No. 863, which would have prevented schools that receive state funding from being “a member of any interscholastic … organization that subdivides schools into select admission and non-select admission schools for athletic playoff competitions.” Legislators believed the split was a form of discrimination.

From The Times-Picayune:

Talbot said he is tabling the bill “to prevent the split of the LHSAA.” It comes after the association’s executive director, Eddie Bonine, sent a letter on Tuesday (March 29) to Talbot requesting the delay until an executive committee can “be briefed on the possible variables, intended and unintended circumstances if your bill passes through the house and senate and becomes law. We ask, if needed, a re-calendaring of the bill hearing later in April 2016.”

The executive committee is scheduled to meet in Baton Rouge on April 14. If they fail to come up with a solution that can be passed by the LHSAA, Talbot said he could re-introduce the bill later this session.

The state’s high school football playoffs were split in 2013, but this winter the athletic association nullified the split after determining the vote to divide the postseason violated the organization’s constitution. Just a couple weeks later, the LHSAA re-voted and put the split back in place.

It sounds possible the LHSAA could again re-address its position on splitting the postseason tournaments and, if not, the bill would be reintroduced.

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