The Principals Struck The Match

Executive Committee member and Sophie B. Wright principal Sharon Clark opened her comments to Mr. Bonine by saying “my teams aren’t any good, we don’t win at anything” and she also said “she is not in favor of the split, but she voted for it because that’s what the membership wants.” Ms.Clark is an “at-large” representative but shouldn’t she be voting on what is best for the student/athlete and making sure that proposal follows the constitution.

 

On the other hand, Tommy Hodges votes like he wants to vote and could care less about the school district he represents which is districts 7-12.  At the January annual meeting, the principals from district 7-12 (2A) voted against the split 16-11. In April a “special executive committee” meeting was called due to the lack of ‘playoff integrity’ Norman Booker’s proposal created in each sport, in each bracket especially at the lower classifications. Here is an example of Hodges 2A Classification – this was all known prior to the June vote.

 

Football (together) 0 teams with losing records in playoffs; 16 select and 16 non.

Boys BB (together) 3 losing records; 15 select, 17 non

Girls BB (together) 0 losing records; 14 select, 18 non

Baseball (together) 1 losing records; 18 select, 14 non

Softball (together) 6 losing records; 16 select, 16 non

 

Overall when all the above sports are together, the 2A brackets would have 10 losing teams in the playoffs (6.25%); 79 select schools and 81 non-select schools.  Remember we are trying to achieve a competitive balance, fair, equitable and level playing field. Is the above “perfect”?  No, but here is the alternative the principals including Tommy Hodges thought was best.

 

Football (split) 14 losing records

Boys BB (split) 20 losing records

Girls BB (split) 23 losing records

Baseball (split) 14 losing records

Softball (split) 19 losing records

 

When the above sports are split, the 2A brackets have lost their integrity allowing 90 teams with losing records (33%) and 16 1st round BYE’s in the playoffs. In comparison, the NCAA tournament has only had 25 teams with losing records out of 3521 (.7%); last 26 years in college bowl games only 7 teams have losing records (.4%). If you are from Mars, which plan is the best for ALL student/athletes?  Correct, so why is Hodges continuing to vote against his colleagues and against the constitution?

 

So the June “Special Members Meeting” rolls around and again confirmed that districts 7-12 were against the split but this time 14-7, but not Hodges. Well maybe he is at least doing what is best for Livingston Parish. The enrollment of schools that voted “against the split” is 3,501 students. The enrollment of schools “for the split” in Livingston Parish is 3,303. Hodges’ job, per the constitution, is to do what is BEST for all the student/athletes. He is clearly not, Why?

 

It must be the fact that this Principal is a home-grown product of Doyle and is very passionate and committed to his community.  Not really, Hodges “sold out” his teammates and abandoned his community by transferring from Doyle to a select-school, Redemptorist for athletic purposes. Why would now Principal of Doyle leave his school as a student to play basketball elsewhere?  He was too good for Doyle? His teammates weren’t good enough for him?  Whatever the reason, Tommy Hodges is part of the LHSAA’s problems. Never once have I read, seen or heard him offer a solution. Last week, my sources tell me he was the leak to “The Daily Advertiser” about Bonine’s buy-out, and then when asked a few days later by The Advocate, he knows nothing about it. The very first committee member to approach the LHSAA attorney before the meeting even started was, yes, Hodges. Who was the committee member that proposed an agenda change, Tommy Hodges. I would venture to guess that the Livingston Parish School Board and the Doyle community are very proud of you.

 

Ms. Clark’s comments about her athletic teams ‘my teams aren’t any good, we don’t win at anything’ are interesting because as with anything (i.e. Mr. Bonine’s dumpster fire comment) can be taken two ways. 1) She just called the student/athletes a bunch of losers. To be a loser, you have a poor work ethic, bad attitude, you are poorly coached, you can’t overcome adversity, you don’t trust your teammates and you don’t know how to compete; yet she just questioned Mr. Bonine’s “spirit to lead the association”!  I swear I am not making any of this up. Or I could take it as 2) she is just making a point. Even though she does not mention athletics on her school’s home page, she was just trying to make a point, just as was Mr. Bonine. That is common sense and I sincerely mean it when I say she would have never said that if she knew it was going to be taken that far out of context, nor would have Bonine.

 

But, just as Ms. Clark was trying to make a point, she did; just not the point she was trying to make. However, on one hand, you have a member voting because that’s what the membership wants and the other, Mr. Hodges voting based on his agenda which is extremely hard to figure out.

 

The LHSAA’s Executive Committee has “trashed” the brackets in football, baseball, softball and basketball. The constitution and handbook Mr. Bonine has been repeatedly asked to enforce by the member schools has been thrown in the dumpster and it was the principals that struck the match, Bonine was simply calling ‘911’!

 

 

Todd Black