Proposed Changes To LHSAA Arbitration Process Move Forward
To say sports, particularly football is a big deal in Louisiana is a lot like saying oxygen is important to breathing. Louisiana is a football crazy state. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about our New Orleans Saints, Ragin Cajuns, LSU Tigers or the many great high school football programs our state has, we love 'em all.
The governing body for high school athletics in the state is the LHSAA, the Louisiana High School Athletics Association. They make the rules on how high school sports are run. Now the state legislature is weighing in on how the people that make the rules, make the rules.
The current session of the legislature is currently debating legislation that would force the LHSAA to use a third party arbitrator in cases where player eligibility is being determined. The case that brought this issue to the attention of lawmakers is that of a 19-year-old senior football player who is deemed too old to play by LHSAA rules.
Amite Representative John Bel Edwards says the LHSAA rule is crystal clear with no gray area at all,
"It has to do with obtaining the age of 19 by a certain date, you just take the birthday of the student and you compare it to what the rule says and either the student is eligible or not eligible."
Edward's remarks were reported to the Louisiana Radio Network.
Not everyone agrees with Edwards on the interpretation of the rules and exactly what the LHSAA's mission should ultimately be, Baton Rouge representative Ted James says the student at the heart of this matter and other students seeking eligibility should be considered on a case by case basis,
"And it's about giving the opportunity for this kid and his family and addresses ALL eligibility disputes. Not just age,"
The proposed legislation passed in the House by a vote of 54-38. It will now go back to the Senate for further debate.