Changing fall sports schedules have not been discussed during meetings by Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) executive director Eddie Bonine, according to Franklin Parish School Superintendent John Gullatt.
Gullatt sits on LHSAA committees and regularly attends its meeting.
The statement, made at Franklin Parish School Board’s regular meeting July 22, is contrary to a Baton Rouge Advocate report published July 13. According to the report, Bonine told a Louisiana House Education committee that practices, let alone games, cannot begin until Phase 4 is implemented.
“Mr. Bonine has never discussed flipping any schedule,” Gullatt said. “There are contracts with the Super Dome. There are contracts with the people down at Sulphur. It is not a matter of saying we are going to flip flop seasons without swapping contracts that are millions of dollars.”
The Advocate also reported Bonine said the LHSAA never said it would cancel its sports season and switching fall and spring sports had been discussed, though it’s not the LHSAA’s first option.
Bonine was one of several officials who appeared before the House committee on July 13 where speakers discussed plans for opening schools.
While under Phase 2, school sports will not come out of “summer rules” until classes start, Gullatt said.
“That poses a little bit of a problem because just like we have agreed to push our (school) back to (Aug.) 24, some are going virtual - how are we going to have athletics,” Gullatt said. “That will be up to them to figure out.”
Gullatt assured School Board meeting attendees LHSAA desired sporting events.
“At this point, we as an athletic committee want to have sports,” Gullatt said. “We have to figure out how to have them.”
Difference of White House phases - LHSAA phases
During the Louisiana House Education committee meeting, “(Bonine) brought up Phase 4 which in the athletic world means he can increase from 50 to 250 whenever he deems necessary,” Gullatt said. “In the education world, there is no Phase 4.”
Numerous differences can be found between LHSAA phases and the phases President Trump’s administration has developed.
LHSAA has four phases based on a combination of guidelines from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and the National Federation of High Schools.
LHSAA’s Phase 3 allows for 7-on-7 limited inter-school contact drills for football teams without helmet and shoulder pads. LHSAA’s Phase 4 allows for full contact and collisions using helmet and shoulder pads along with scrimmages against other teams.
Football has not been canceled
“Football has not been called off,” Gullatt said. “We are working within Phase 2 which is non-contact, and we will continue to do that.”
During his explanation, Gullatt said LHSAA has discussed how sports will operate in Phase 3.
“I’m not going to get in to all of the ‘how are you going to have a football season if they don’t move to Phase 3’,” Gullatt said. “They have already thought that out, but you have to get to Phase 3 to release that information. They have plans to do that, and they have plans not to do that.”