LSA close to finalizing select-school title games

Kyle Riviere

Now less than a month away from the start of the high-school football season, the dates and locations of the select-school state championship games are still unknown. But that will be changing soon.

Last week, Catholic High of Baton Rouge Athletic Director J.P. Kelly said that he should be able to release this information by the end of the month.

Just recently, Kelly was named the CEO of the newly-formed Louisiana Select Association, which is a sub-organization of the LHSAA, that will have the sole purpose of holding championship events for select schools.

The creation of the LSA was sparked in January, when LHSAA member schools voted to allow select schools to break away and host their championship events separate from the traditional LHSAA events.

This all stems from the split that was introduced to Louisiana high-school athletics back in 2013, but upon its introduction, football was the only sport to utilize it.

Public school principals voted for the split, claiming private schools had an unfair advantage due to their ability to recruit.

Therefore, four new divisions were added. These divisions were filled with select schools—which included private schools, also charter, laboratory and magnet institutions.

In 2016, the split was implemented to basketball, softball and baseball.

In Iberville Parish, St. John, White Castle, and East Iberville fall into the select school category. If they reach a championship game in the future, it will be an event organized by the LSA.

Members of the LSA have reiterated that this has not been done for the purpose of having the member schools break away from the LHSAA.

Although, there have been many critics of the introduction of the LSA. Most notably, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine has expressed his concerns with the move.

Bonine said that the decision to have select schools break away from LHSAA events could lead to a “separate governance.”

UL-Lafayette, Tulane, Southeastern and Southern have all expressed interest in hosting select-school championship events at their sports venues.

Playing the select football championships at the Superdome is still on the table. Bonine has requested that select schools are polled to gauge their interest in keeping the title games at the dome.

Kelly said that he met with Bonine the week prior to discuss the dates and locations of the select-school title games. These games will most likely take place Dec. 6-7, a week before the non-select championship matchups.

Kelly said that he hopes the LSA can finalize the dates by Aug. 19, and he hopes they can finalize the sites of the games two weeks after that. Information on the basketball, softball and baseball title events will come later.

A proposal by Teurlings Catholic High School Principal Mike Boyer calls for the higher seeded team to host the championship game at its school or a neutral site agreed upon by both teams.

All 108 schools in each division have to agree to decline hosting a title game before a neutral site can be chosen. Kelly said that they are in the process of trying to get confirmation in writing that each select school will be willing to forego its right to host a title event.