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Football Playoff Split Goes Before Legislative Commitee

Members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association met Tuesday with lawmakers to discuss the recent vote to split high school football playoffs into two separate divisions; one for public schools and another for select-admission schools, such as private or parochial schools.

Proponents of the split said it promotes fair and equitable competition. Winfield High School Principal Dr. Jane Griffin, one of the proposal’s six authors, told the Senate Select Committee on High School Interscholastic Athletics that the new rule addresses the unfair advantage private schools have by being able to choose who goes to their school and who plays on their football team.

"Schools are recruiting students at the playground level. It doesn’t matter if they’re five-year-old or ten-years-old, the 5th grade of the 11th grade. Recruiting is recruiting," said Griffin.

But Principal of Parkview Baptist in Baton Rouge Don Green said the proposal is based on speculation.

"All we’ve ever heard is, 'Well I’ve heard' or 'Well I’ve seen' and 'I have assumed'," said Green. "There are absolutely no numbers to support any recruiting violations. There’s no number to support any data that tells us that one school is in a greater advantage than the other. There’s nothing there."

Opponents of the rule change said it’s a form of segregation, waters down championships and teaches students that if they don’t win – just change the rules.

On January 25th, the LHSAA voted 206-119 in favor of the split playoffs. Some select-admission schools have since threatened to file a lawsuit against the association to change things back to the way they were. But if the new rule is allowed to stand, it will go into effect this fall.