Select/Non-Select Bracket: What will it be in 2023?
BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) - The annual Louisiana High School Athletic Association convention down in Baton Rouge peaks more interest this year pending possible significant changes to the select/non-select format for at least the next year.
The changes could impact the major sports, including football, basketball, baseball and softball, at the high school level.
Last summer, the LHSAA executive committee voted to redefine what a select and non-select school was to combine certain public and all private schools for competition in the playoffs. Under the new definition that was approved, open enrollment schools, magnet schools and charter schools were added to the select side of the bracket with private schools.
Based on that list, every public school in Rapides Parish now competes for championships on the select side due to being under open enrollment. The vote from the executive committee sparked immediate controversy locally. At a Rapides Parish School Board meeting following the LHSAA decision, representatives from most high schools showed up to voice their opinion, with some coaches even suggesting getting rid of open enrollment in the parish.
Schools like Northwood-Lena and Rapides reported that they do not benefit from open enrollment and should not be considered select schools. Northwood-Lena has just one open-enrollment student outside of their jurisdiction and Rapides has zero.
RPSB said they would not consider getting rid of the open enrollment option across the parish on a decision based solely on athletics, but the board did vote to pursue legal action against the LHSAA. RPSB Superintendent Jeff Powell said he was informed at the time that the executive committee would meet again to review 25 appeals sent by schools and districts wanting to re-evaluate the “select” school definition. However, while some appeals across the state were granted, exceptions were not given for Rapides Parish high schools for the 2022-2023 athletic season.
More controversy came about from some principals who questioned why the LHSAA decision was decided by an executive committee and not during the full convention. According to The Advocate, LHSAA Director Eddie Bonine said during a virtual area meeting that the executive committee has the power to make changes because the member schools elect the committee.
Plenty of eyes, especially in Rapides Parish, will be focused on what the principals will decide to vote. The decision will be between if the playoff format will remain the same with the new select definition or if high school athletics will resort back to the original split bracket that was previously used since 2013.
Regardless of the vote, it will not affect the upcoming Spring championships for basketball, baseball and softball as sites and dates are already set in place. The vote would affect the 2023-2024 school year.
The vote is expected to take place on Friday, Jan. 27, at 9:30 a.m.
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