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LHSAA approves moving forward with football

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Louisiana High School Athletics Association (LHSAA) made it official Wednesday morning — prep football teams under its guidance can ramp up preparations for the already delayed 2020 season.

Wednesday’s vote cleared the way for the LHSAA to begin its COVID-19 altered football season Oct. 8-10.

There is a catch, though it doesn’t appear likely to affect north Louisiana.

The LHSAA noted during its announcement that it does not have the power to overrule a local government edict.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has said the city’s schools cannot participate in full contact while the city remains in Phase 2. But no mention of such bans have been mentioned in north Louisiana.

LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said the target for attendance at high school football games is 50% capacity of the stadium being played in.

“I get a little emotional about this,” Bonine told Robin Fambrough of the Advocate in a brief interview during a meeting break on Wednesday. “This is what our coaches and players have been working toward.”

The LHSAA was still in meetings late Wednesday afternoon determining how it will all work out, but the executive committee earlier in the day approved moving up the start of the football season Oct. 1-3, instead of the previously-listed Oct. 8-10. Teams will play their Week 3 opponent Oct. 1-3. Bonine said teams can begin contact practices Thursday and can scrimmage at the end of the month.

Under the updated COVID-19 reopening football plan, schools will still play eight regular-season games and will have traditional playoff brackets.

Due to the damage done by Hurricane Laura to 179 member schools, the LHSAA executive committee did approve moving its reclassification process to February. The process for 2021-22 and 2022-23 would normally be done based on fall enrollment figures. Committee members argued the numbers for schools damaged by the storm will not be accurate this fall, saying figures tallied in the spring will be more accurate.