LHSAA change mixes more public and private high schools for playoffs

The LHSAA on Friday announced a new definition of Select School that will put many Louisiana public high schools in competition with their private school counterparts starting in the fall.

The LHSAA Executive Committee voted 16 to 5 to redefine what select and non-select schools are. Select schools will now include any school with a magnetic element.

The new definition of a Select school is as follows: “Select means private or public schools that have a state or parish approved designation as a laboratory school, magnetic school, with one or more magnetic components, approved charter schools, parochial open parish-wide enrollment, parochial schools based on State Recovery District (RSD) applications, tuition-based schools, and/or any school established on academic and/or retention-based criteria.

The change increases the number of Louisiana Select high schools from 106 (26%) to 200 (49.4%) while decreasing the number of non-Select schools from 299 (73%) to 205 (50.6%) .

Prior to this ruling, any public school that had 25% or more of its student population outside of its school zone was required to compete in the Select Division during the playoffs.

The new definition means that most schools in Caddo Parish will compete as a Select school in the playoffs this fall.

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“Once that definition was changed, we knew how we would be ranked,” said captain Shreve’s athletic director Todd Sharp. “I think the annual convention in January is no longer necessary if the executive committee can make changes without the directors voting. Our school has competed well in all sports and I expect us to continue in Select.

Byrd, Loyola, Evangel and Calvary were already in the Select designation. Captain Shreve, Southwood, Northwood, Huntington, Caddo Magnet, Magnolia, Green Oaks, and North Caddo would be added. Woodlawn and BTW and possibly Northwood, would remain unselected due to the lack of a magnetic component, according to Caddo Parish sporting director Anthony Tisdale.

Dr. Kim Pendleton, Director of Southwood

Southwood manager Kim Pendleton is among managers in the area who believe the decision is unfair.

“Especially since very few of my students in the magnetic component of my school, Biotech, participate in varsity sports,” Pendleton said. “This puts our school district at a disadvantage since most Caddo schools have a magnetic component, which makes us Select.”

The Shreveport Times contacted Loyola director John LeBlanc, a member of the executive committee, but did not immediately receive a response. Caddo Parish sporting director Anthony Tisdale doesn’t expect many changes.

“You’re asking school districts to make academic decisions based on athletics, and that’s definitely not going to happen,” Tisdale said. “I don’t see us changing a Liberal Arts curriculum, Captain Shreve’s Engineering, CE Byrd’s Math/Science curriculum, or Huntington’s Law, a Commerce curriculum because of where they will fall into playoff terms. All of these schools will still be competing in the same districts they have been competing in for years. From a competitive situation, I don’t see much difference.

Anthony Tisdale, Caddo Schools Athletic Director

Northwood is one of the few Caddo schools hoping to receive an exemption and remain non-Select.

“I’m sure we’ll be in litigation before July. July 1 is the deadline for schools to change their admissions practices,” said Northwood Principal Shannon Wall. “I think the executive committee is trying to blow up the status quo to get us to dissolve Select/non-Select.”

Huntington manager Matt Mitchell said he had no problem with the change.

“We will play who they say we are playing against,” he said. “I’m focused on making Huntington High the best I can be. I can’t make those decisions, so I just want to play. I think it was rushed, but I can’t control that either.

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