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High School Football Playoff Split Issue Heads to the Legislature

A state lawmaker has pre-filed a bill that aims to make it illegal for an association or organization to prohibit any school from participating in athletic activities based on its admissions criteria.

Rep. Bob Hensgens of Abbeville said his bill is in response to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's vote in January to split football playoffs into two divisions: one for select admission schools – such as private and parochial schools – and another for non-select public schools.

Proponents of the split, mostly public schools, say it promotes fair and equal competition, while opponents say it waters down championships and is a form of segregation.

Rep. Hensgens said all student athletes in Louisiana should get to play against each other.

"And we should not be teaching our children that we’re going to segregate on any fashion. In our athletic programs or our academic programs," Hensgens said.

Hensgens' bill will be discussed in the upcoming legislative session beginning in April. If the rule-change is allowed to stand, it will go into effect this fall.