UPDATE: Louisiana Public and Private Schools to Now Have Separate Playoffs in High School Football
After years of debate, the LHSAA has decided to have separate playoffs in high school football — one for private schools, and one for public schools. This could change state championships in Louisiana forever.
Several medial outlets are reporting that the LHSAA has finally put a vote to one of the more divisive issues in high school athletics. For years, public schools have complained that private schools’ ability to “recruit” players has allowed them to form uncharacteristically strong teams, which then go on to dominate the championship grid. Public schools, meanwhile, can only field athletes that live within their geographic zones.
That dynamic has, in the past, led to private schools such as Shreveport’s Evangel Christian Academy being able to dominate the highest levels of high school football, despite being one of the state’s smaller schools in terms of enrollment.
At the most recent Superdome Prep Classic, seven of the 10 participants — and four of the five champions — were private schools. Either John Curtis or Evangel won the 2A championship in each of the six years they have both been in the division, and neither lost a playoff game during that span to anyone but the other.
Some private schools, meanwhile, have countered over the years that “recruiting” programs were the exception rather than the rule, and separate playoffs would hurt those schools who were “honest.” The issue has remained contentious for the past several decades, and repeated attempts to form a dual-playoff system have failed in the past.
Under the proposal, there would be seven state championship games played every years — one for 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A in the public school bracket, and one in Division I and Division II in the private school bracket. Private schools that used to belong to 3A and above would be Division I schools, while former 1A and 2A schools would be in Division II.
So, what do you think? Fair or unfair?