A bill that forces the LHSAA to end its public-private school playoff split will be heard on the House floor today. River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot says his bill would prohibit schools from receiving public funds, if they belong to an athletic organization with split playoffs for select and non-select schools. Talbot says the LHSAA’s current playoff split is discriminatory.
“Just because you go to a Catholic school doesn’t mean you should be separated from somebody else,” Talbot said.
The split began in football playoffs in 2013, and it is set to expand to include basketball, baseball and softball starting in 2016-17. Talbot says his goal with the legislation is not take away state funds from schools, but get the LHSAA to not separate its schools based on whether they are public or private.
“That’s probably really more of our role as government is just to make sure that these kids are treated fairly and everybody has an equal opportunity,” Talbot said.
LHSAA member principals voted to expand the postseason split in January, but a special meeting will take place in June to vote on a metro-rural division plan, which would also combine 4A with 5A and B with C. Talbot says he’s still moving forward with his bill, even though it appears the LHSAA is taking a positive step to rectify the situation.
“If you do it by region or something like that, or obviously by school size, that’s one thing, but let’s just make sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” Talbot said.
Opponents to the bill raised questions about whether the legislature should be involved in this controversy.