Back on the bayou…
I just did a little research on my native state. There are 388 member schools of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association divided into seven classifications. Most classes include 60 to 70 schools, except Classes B and C, which are small schools (lower than the smallest 2A school) which do not play football.
There have been many proposals to combine Classes B and C. I think that’s a great idea. Seven classifications in Louisiana, which has less than 40 more schools than Kansas, is still too many.
I would like to see five classes for basketball in Louisiana. You could place the B and C schools together–that would be 73 right now–and then divide 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A equally. When I began high school at Brother Martin in New Orleans, there were six classifications. Class 5A was added in 1991.
Keep in mind the structure in Louisiana is radically different than that of Kansas.
First, there are no leagues in Louisiana. Teams are asssigned to districts for two-year cycles. There are “basic” districts for football, basketball, baseball, softball and track, and then special districts for volleyball and soccer. Becuase districts change every two years, rivalries are sometimes irregular, especially in football, where teams are often committed to five, six or seven district games.
Second, Louisiana’s basketball playoffs are structured like the NCAA tournament. One and done. Each class has a 32-team brakcket. District champions earn automatic qualification, with the rest of the bracket filled in by a power rating system, which relies on a mathematcial formula.
The first three rounds of the playoffs are played home-and-away, unless a school’s gym does not meet minimum LHSAA standards; in that case, a neutral site is agreed upon. Prior to 1992, all playoff games had to be played at neutral sites.
The semifinals and finals are all contested at a single location. The girls play one week before the boys. The last two years, both the girls and boys have crowned their champions in Lake Charles, in the southwest corner of the state. Ideally, you’d like to see the games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU, but the LHSAA balked at the high rent LSU wants for usage of the arena. You also have hte problem of parking, which is a nightmare at LSU.