Principals vote to form committee for split proposal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

BATON ROUGE &045; The emotional debate between public and private schools in the LHSAA will now go to an ad hoc committee.

Principals voted to send the matter to a committee proposed of members of both public and private schools during the final day of the LHSAA’s annual convention Friday in a standing-room only conference room at the Radisson Hotel.

Principals voted 256-71 to form a committee to hear arguments from member schools concerning the debate of public and private schools within the organization.

Email newsletter signup

Executive committee member John Sartin addressed the group and made the motion for the committee as a means of studying the issue. The panel will report to the executive committee in June, and a special meeting will be held in September to deal with it.

Principals never voted on the proposal sponsored by Many principal Norman Booker and Benton principal Scott Smith to create classifications between public and private schools within the association.

&uot;We have many reservations about this agenda item,&uot;&160;Sartin said.&160;&uot;This has a number of unconstitutional items within it. The passage of this would create substantial problems for the organization and ill will for an organization that has directed Louisiana high school athletics for almost a century.&uot;

Vidalia Principal Rick Brown was among the 71 voting against the amended item to form the committee.

&uot;Everybody has been talking about it,&uot;&160;Brown said afterward. &uot;It’s been all over the regional meetings. We discussed it for three days here. I think we delayed and put off the inevitable. We’ll see what happens this summer.&uot;

VHS athletic director Dee Faircloth dubbed it a delay tactic. Faircloth was in support of a 1998 proposal that would have kicked private schools out of the association, a measure that failed 254-71.

The vote followed three days of debate on the topic in Baton Rouge, including Wednesday’s discussion in executive session.

&uot;We need to have trainers look at all the arm-twisting going on because I know there there were some sockets out of joint today,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;It’s a delay tactic. I guess we have to keep on playing the Riversides, the Evangels and the John Curtises.&uot;

Principals debated the issue for about 15 minutes after the proposal was moved to the end of the agenda.

Booker, who along with Many football coach David Feaster promoted the proposal around the state, also termed the committee proposal a delay tactic for those in opposition.


know this is an emotionally charged issue,&uot;&160;Smith said.&160;&uot;It’s been all around the state. I know we’ve all had plenty of time to talk about this issue. We’ve had several years to talk about this. It was brought up a couple of years ago, but it was soundly defeated.&uot;

The committee has an opportunity to hear complaints and allegations of member schools and could forward a resolution to the voting body to proceed with Booker’s proposal, LHSAA president David Buller said.

While some principals claim private schools have an advantage over private schools in where they can draw athletes, much of the criticism is directed toward John Curtis and Evangel.

Those two schools with Class 2A enrollments compete for a state championship every year in football in higher classifications.

&uot;I don’t know if any of you guys or ladies are having a hard time and struggling with this decision as to what to do,&uot;&160;Midland principal Clyde Briley said.&160;&uot;If I had to vote for a split, I’d vote for a split. I don’t have anything against anybody.

&uot;But there are problems I feel need to be fixed. But I’m going to vote to defer. Let’s give this thing a chance.&uot;

LHSAA commissioner Tommy Henry agreed with the final vote as a step in the right direction.

Henry, who said he’ll retire following the 2004-05 athletic year, likening Booker’s proposal to &uot;building a house and changing the house plans.&uot;

&uot;I think (the deferral) was the right thing to do,&uot;&160;Henry said.&160;&uot;This association is 83 years old and has done great things. It deserves more than just a quick vote. There’s got to be some give and take in this. You can’t have the public shools giving and the private schools taking or the private schools giving and the public schools taking.&uot;