Jesuit principal Michael Giambelluca’s third attempt at a proposal that would allow schools to compete one class above their enrollment classification will one of the key topics at Friday’s annual meeting of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association in Baton Rouge.
Giambelluca was cautiously optimistic that by altering his original proposal that, if passed, would have allowed schools to play in any class up to 5A, this third attempt might get the approval of the more than 200 high school principals who are expected to vote on 46 proposals.
Giambelluca said he felt that by playing up just one class instead of as many classes as a principal might choose, the proposal, which lost by just six votes last year, has a good chance of being approved by an association whose majority of principals come from public schools.
However, LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson’s revelation that he heard that the proposal may be amended to allow schools to compete in any higher class may prove to be the proposal’s downfall.
Such an amendment has the earmarks of a plan that is designed to circumvent the Giambelluca proposal.
The fastest way to shoot down a proposal is to (1) call for an amendment that alters the proposal’s original intention, (2) get enough principals to vote in favor of the amendment, and (3) have the body of principals vote against the amended proposal.
The key to approval, and Giambelluca’s task this week, is to encourage enough local non-public school principals to join a minority of public school principals who may be in favor of the one-class plan to agree to vote for it. It is also imperative for all the New Orleans area Catholic school principals to be in attendance at Friday’s vote.
The proposal lost by a 142-136 count last year because eight local Catholic school principals were conspicuously absent. This year a principal is allowed to send his or her athletic director to the meeting as a surrogate.
Giambelluca’s intent is to allow schools located in close proximity but in different classes, to share a district to reduce traveling costs and to preserve natural rivalries. He would also like to see the Catholic League get back together.
Officials from St. Augustine and Holy Cross, whose enrollment numbers dipped below the Class 5A minimum, have said they would move up from their current class (4A) to rejoin a district with Brother Martin, Jesuit and Archbishop Rummel. Athletic officials at Archbishop Shaw would also like to rejoin the Catholic League, but the administration may not wish to take the option.
It is likely local public school principals will be in favor of Giambelluca’s plan, which would benefit Jefferson Parish public schools, which are now split into two districts; one which includes the three 5A Catholic schools and another which they share with East St. John, Destrehan and Hahnville.
The busy agenda includes several items of interest. They include:
· Establishing separate championships for public schools and schools with select admissions (Catholic, private, charter and magnet schools).
· Requiring baseball and softball first and third-base coaches to wear protective head gear.
· Increases the penalty for fighting to include suspension for one game for a first offense and for the season for a second offense. This also applies to players coming off the bench to join the fight.
· Coaches who are ejected must take part in a sportsmanship class for a first offense, then suspended one game for a second offense. A third offense would suspend the coach the remainder of the season.
· Makes students who are ejected from a game for unsportsmanlike conduct to take a sportsmanship course sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations to which the LHSAA is a member.
· Disallows any school to compete in the playoffs if it has to forfeit one-third of its regular season games. Power points it accrues would no longer apply.
· Changes the eligibility birth date for a 19-year-old student from Sept. 1 to Aug. 1.
· Allows schools to hold spring football practice during a three-week period from late January to early February or from late April to early May. Schools may not split the practice periods.
· Reduces the number of classes in basketball, baseball, softball, track and field and cross-country from seven to six, equally divided by enrollment numbers. This proposal splits schools competing in football into five equal divisions with no option to compete in a higher class.
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