Todd Black: A Fish Rots From the Head

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The LHSAA (the fish) will fail or not based on the consistent quality of leadership (the head)!  It is very common when a sports organization is faced with failure either the coach is fired, new staff hired or maybe even new players are drafted to try and solve their problems.  However, usually when  organizations  go through failure, public embarrassment or organizational disarray it invariably gets that way due to poor leadership at the Board and Executive level.

Keeping that thought in mind, let’s talk about the LHSAA.  The LHSAA is a principals association governed by an Executive Board (Made up of 25 Principals) and an Executive Director, Eddie Bonine. 

According to the LHSAA’s Constitution, one of the duties of the Executive Committee is if any ruling of the Commissioners is appealed to make sure the Commissioner correctly found the facts, correctly interpreted the Constitution/Bylaws of the LHSAA and correctly applied the facts to the case. With that in mind, I want to specifically point to a ruling in the fall against Byrd, Southwood and Huntington.  These schools were, admittedly, inclear violation of Section 9 in the 2015-16 handbook as well as other possible violations of rules 5.11.12 and 5.5 and/or 5.6!   All schools involved took responsibility for the issues but appealed that the ruling did not fit the rule infraction, meaning don’t punish the kids.  The language of Rule 9.3 states “if a school allows a student to violate this rule the school shall be ruled immediately ineligible for the varsity state honors….”!  Rule also says“the principal is directly responsible to the association to his/her school’s strict compliance with these rules”.  It needs to be said that this rule was passed by principals in 2005 and it was passed specifically to affect John Curtis!  Moving forward, Mr. Bonine applied the rules of the handbook and deemed all 3 schools ineligible for the playoffs.  As expected the schools appealed and the Executive Committee overturned Mr. Bonine’s decision BUT still fined 2 of the schools $1000!  Why fine the schools if they are not guilty?  The Executive Committee’s job is to make sure the commissioner 1) Had all the facts, 2) correctly interpreted the rules and 3) correctly applied the facts to the case!  The Commissioner did his job, the Executive Committee DID NOT!

How can anyone enter the job as Commissioner of the LHSAA and have an Executive Committee that does not follow the Constitution.  This isn’t the first time the Executive Committee has not followed the Constitution. In 2013, Rule 8.7.2 of the LHSAA Constitution was violated when the proposal did not go through the appropriate steps in order to be voted upon at the general business meeting.  More recently under Bonine, sources close to the LHSAA have informed me that the when the Director ask the Executive Committee to keep things confidential, committee members will intentionally leak the directors information!  Again, the EC is made up of Principal’s who lead our students but yet they cannot follow the constitution or abide rules.  For the record, ONLY 46% of Principals that voted on the split in 2013 where around in 2016

Lastly, the split of other sports was approved by the Principals early this year.    The Principals answer to Superintendents maybe even the Dept of Education to some extent.  All of the following voted against the split: Dept of Education, Superintendents, Athletic Directors and both Coaches Association representatives!  The LHSAA is the fish and the principals are the head.  The fish is rotting and it is being caused by the Principals and the Executive Committee!

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