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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Football playoffs highlight LHSAA's agenda

Last Modified: Monday, June 03, 2013 12:01 PM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Since January, when Louisiana High School Athletic Association member principals passed a proposal that mandates split football championships, there have been several notable meetings and dates.

The next big date looming is Wednesday. That's when the LHSAA's executive committee begins its annual three-day summer meeting at the organization's offices.

It also could be the day when the LHSAA board finalizes some all-important details for the 2013 football playoff plan that divides schools based on select or nonselect school status.

"We're going to come in and look at the recommendations the school-relations committee made," LHSAA President Todd Guice of Ouachita High said. "And from there, I'd like to think we'll be able to make some decisions. We owe it to our schools, the athletes and fans to have something in place."

Wednesday's Baton Rouge meeting starts at 1 p.m., and a series of recommendations regarding the split plan and other select/nonselect school issues are among the first items the executive committee will attempt to tackle.

The executive committee also will decide on its two-year host championship sites for five sports, including baseball and boys and girls basketball on Wednesday. The executive committee also is set to meet at Thursday and again on Friday.

"The meeting is going to revolve around those things," LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said of the select/nonselect issues and championship proposals. "We've got your other typical housecleaning things that we do every summer. And we've got a couple of requests, but nothing as important as those two items."

One "house cleaning" item to note will be Henderson's recommendation on the hiring of an assistant executive director to replace Rhonda Dreibelbis, who retired after the 2012-13 sports seasons.

Henderson said he has completed the interview process and is prepared to make that recommendation to the executive committee Wednesday.

Guice said the executive committee will not look to postpone implementation of the split playoff plan that passed by a 206-119 margin by principals. For now, only one thing is certain: Select and nonselect teams will compete together in districts before branching off into separate playoffs.

The key issues will be deciding how many divisions there will be for select schools and where charter schools fall in this mix.

Guice and Henderson praised the work of the school-relations committee, which hashed out 11 recommendations during a two-day meeting in late April.

LHSAA leaders noted the school-relations committee may not be done yet. The school-relations group made up of select and nonselect school representatives is scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning before the start of the summer meeting. Henderson said those meetings will be closed to the media and the public.

"One important recommendation the school-relations committee made was that the vote in January should be honored this year," Guice said. "You had select and nonselect members who felt very strongly about that. The question is how do we do that?"

The proposal passed in January calls for five football championship divisions for 242 nonselect, or traditional public schools; and two for select schools, a group made up of private, magnet, laboratory, charter and dual-curriculum schools.

Since then, the school-relations committee recommended offering five select championship divisions and to remove charter schools that have open enrollment policies from the list of select schools.

"We're going to come in and review what we put together at the last meeting," school-relations committee chairman Mike Boyer of Teurlings Catholic said. "Part of the reason for the five divisions was a concern about needing to follow the LHSAA constitution, which says football should be contested in five classes. Some people on the committee may have a new ideas, and there could be another plan added."

The LHSAA staff has researched the charters of its member charter schools and has identified 11 New Orleans area schools that will be moved to the nonselect category, Henderson said.

Defending Class 4A football champion Edna Karr is one of two schools still to be evaluated. Baton Rouge's most notable charter school, Madison Prep, was deemed a select school.

Henderson said the status of dual-curriculum schools won't be a major factor. Only two dual-curriculum schools, Baton Rouge-based Scotlandville and Shreveport's C.E. Byrd, have submitted percentages that will make them select schools.

The process to evaluate dual-curriculum schools is ongoing. To be deemed select, a dual-curriculum school must draw at least 25 percent of its enrollment from outside a traditional attendance zone.

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