SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) - The LHSAA further distanced select and non-select schools on Friday at their annual winter as the principals voted to split up the championship venues for select and non-select sports.
“I think a lot of people were in shock as I looked around the audience," admitted Hamilton Christian basketball coach Dexter Washington. "It was like, we’re actually going to do this.”
Starting next school year select and non-select schools will no longer play their state title games at the same location for baseball, softball, basketball and football.
“I can definitely understand the split from a football standpoint. Two seasons ago when [Welsh] went to the Superdome, there was a guaranteed payout you were supposed to get," said Westlake football coach John Richardson. "Most of the schools collected less than half of that payout from the Superdome.”
Teurlings Catholic principal Mike Boyer voiced his concerns at the convention.
“It’s overwhelming the expense that we’re in to play the Superdome Classic. We’re going to championship events and we’re losing money," admitted Boyer while addressing the room. "They’re all losing money. Something’s wrong with that.”
KPLC 7 Sports is told a big motivator for the move is indeed money.
From sponsorships to payouts to total costs, the majority of school principals felt the most financially responsible choice, was for select schools to break away.
“It was things like Dunham and Episcopal playing in a noon game at Burton on a school day in front of no students that lead us to go this way," said St. Louis athletic director Pat Neck. "I feel like because we don’t have a whole lot of voice with the association, because we’re so outnumbered, I feel like we needed, as select schools, to show some unity on this item.”
The first move to split select and non-select schools, by creating separate playoff brackets in 2013, is still a heated debate today.
“I absolutely agree with it," stated Richardson, who won a state title with Welsh in 2017. "It’s nice to go into the season and feel like you have a chance to go to a championship.”
Meanwhile many of the select schools desires the playoffs be combined once again.
“We’re very anti-split here," Neck admitted. "We wish it could go back together like it was 8-10 years ago.”
It’s evident that there may only be two outcomes moving forward. This move could be the first step in reuniting the select or non-select schools, or more likely, it will go the other way.
Those KPLC 7 Sports spoke to believe this to be the beginning of the end, saying the next step is total separation.