The road to state championships in football, basketball, baseball, and softball is now a bit more difficult for many of Louisiana's public schools.

Last week, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's executive committee voted 16-5 to expand the definition of "select school" to include charter schools, magnet schools, laboratory schools, and traditional public schools that have open enrollment policies. The changes take effect immediately, impacting football, boys' and girls' basketball, softball, and baseball during the 2022-23 academic year.

According to LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine, 52 percent of the organization's members are now classified as "select," while 48 percent are now "non-select." LHSAA Executive Committee chairman David Frederico, the decision helps the LHSAA achieve the goal member principals sought when they initially approved the split in 2013--to "level the playing field" among schools that can pick and choose its students and others that cannot.

Although the decision does not affect the LHSAA's basic district plan or regular season play, it will bring changes to playoff competition for a number of Acadiana-area schools, including all of Lafayette's public schools.

Lafayette Parish Schools Now "Select"
Under the approved plan, Division I, the largest of the select divisions, doubled in size and expanded its reach into Acadiana and Central Louisiana.

Prior to the vote, Division I consisted of schools in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas and Shreveport's C. E. Byrd. Now, Acadiana (Class 5A football champions in 2019 and 2020), Carencro (Class 4A football and boys basketball champions in 2019), Comeaux, Lafayette, Southside, Alexandria, and Pineville will move from the non-select 5A classification into the D-I select group. Several New Orleans area private schools have elected to play above their assigned classification and play in Division I to put the Catholic League back together. Those schools are Archbishop Chapelle, Archbishop Rummel, Brother Martin, Edna Karr, Holy Cross, John Curtis, and St. Augustine. Edna Karr is moving up from Class 4A/Division II to play in Division I.

Meanwhile, Northside and David Thibodaux will shift into the select Division II. Opelousas, Ville Platte, Iowa, Livonia, and Bunkie will also move into D-II. They'll join the likes of St. Thomas More, Teurlings, Lafayette Christian Academy, and Evangel in that division, which combines the select schools from the 3A and 4A classifications.

The Acadiana-area public schools in classes 2A, 1A, B, and C will not be affected.

More Changes Possible
According to Bonine, the LHSAA could further tweak the lists of select and non-select schools before the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year. The final select and non-select lists will not be released until July.

Bonine says while the current plan calls for nine football championship games and 12 championships in boys basketball, girls basketball, softball, and baseball, those numbers could be reduced. According to Bonine, non-select classifications could be combined for playoff competition depending on how many school are in each classification.

To listen to Bonine's comments about the changes, click the video below.

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