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Major changes could be coming to high school sports in Louisiana

Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 6:32 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

LAFAYETTE — A trio of proposals that would change the way schools are classified will headline the agenda at next week’s Louisiana High School Athletic Association convention.

The agenda was discussed Wednesday at an area meeting at the Clifton Chenier Center in Lafayette.

Two of the proposals, including one written by former South Beauregard principal Marlin Ramsey, would separate select and non-select schools for the playoffs. Under the Ramsey proposal, the split would occur in all sports that are classified. Under the second proposal, it would only occur for football.

The third proposal would classify football seperately from other sports, allowing for more uniformly-sized football districts and smaller districts for other sports, to limit long trips for midweek games.

The Ramsey proposal was tabled until this year at last year’s convention. The proposal would define schools as select or non-select based on admission policies. Select schools would be defined as “a public or non-public school that has an admission policy to select the students who attend the school. Select admission schools shall include all non-public, charter, university lab and magnet schools. Dual-curriculum schools that include at least 33% of their enrollment as select admission students who don not live in the designated attendance zone shall also be included as a selct admission school.”

The second select/non-select proposal lowers the threshold to 25% of the enrollment to earn the “select” school status.

In both proposals, select and non-select schools would play each other and be placed in the same districts during the regular season. For the playoffs, select schools in Classes 3A, 4A and 5A would go into the Division I playoffs, those in Classes 1A and 2A would go into Division II playoffs, while non-select schools would play in the current 1-5A classes.

The status of Washington-Marion, which has a dual-enrollment policy, is up in the air. Depending on the number of students attending the school from outside the attendance zone and which proposal calling for a split — if either one does — is passed, the Charging Indians could be either a select or non-select school.

St. Louis would be in the Division I playoffs, Hamilton Christian in Division II.

Other items to be considered include a change in the format of the Class 5A baseball playoffs. The regional and quarterfinal rounds of the playoffs would become a best 2-of-3 series rather than a single game, and the state tournament would consist of four teams, down from the current eight. The proposal also includes restrictions on the amount of innings a pitcher could throw. Pitchers would be limited to 10 innings per game or round in the playoffs. Pitchers throwing four or more innings in a game would not be allowed to pitch in the team’s following game.

St. Louis principal Ted Nixon submitted a proposal that would create a power rating system to seed the soccer playoffs. Currently, coaches from qualifying teams vote to seed the teams.

Nixon said the proposal would bring soccer in line with other sports. Football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball all use the power rating system.

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