The Constitution of the LHSAA states in Article 2.1.5 “their purpose is to preserve the game for the boys and girls and not sacrifice the boys and girls to the game.” Article 2.3” The Association is vitally interested in the welfare of every boy and girl participating in athletic contests. It is for the protection of their interests that the Association operates.” If a proposal is going to be presented, shouldn’t it follow that particular Association’s Constitution? It is arguable that these “split” proposals by the LHSAA principal’s DO NOT take EVERY boy and girl into consideration!
First with football and I’m going to use Many High School as an example. Three years prior to the split (2010-2012), Many was a 21 seed and beat 12 seed Menard (select), a 12 seed and lost to 21 seed Homer (non-select) and a 32nd seed losing to 1 seed John Curtis (select). Post-split (2013-2015), Many has been the #1 seed all three years defeating their opponents by a combined score of 177-7; those 3 schools have a combined record of 3-29. Did they improve that much overnight or did the quality of competition get weaker? Maybe these numbers will help. In football Class 2A from 2010-2012 only 12 teams made the playoffs with losing records with the worst record being 3-7 twice. Same class, from 2013-2015 a total of 54 teams made the playoffs with losing records; seven teams won 2 games, 12 teams won 1 and 2 teams did not win a game.
Moving to the most recent proposal from Many’s Principal to split basketball, softball and baseball; it’s doable but, like football, at the expense of sacrificing the boys and girls to the game. Under the current LHSAA classification guidelines, in classes 5A-1A, 13 teams in girls basketball and 15 teams in boys basketball made the playoffs this past season with losing records. Bookers new proposal, if in place this year, would allow 87 teams in girls basketball and 80 teams in boys basketball to enter the playoffs with losing records. Softball would have increased from 31 to 70; baseball 24 to 60. This proposal would increase the number of losing teams in the playoffs from 83 to 297! Is this preserving the game?
Athletic competition teaches kids how to give effort, have discipline, keep a positive attitude, stay persistent and overcome adversity. When kids realize life isn’t fair they will have these particular values to fall back on to achieve success. Will a championship or trophy determine whether a boy or girl gets a job or not? Absolutely not, but what they learn while trying to achieve that championship certainly will.
By: Todd Black