I’ve written this column so long now that I feel like my readers know me.
It’s been almost 500 issues now since my debut in Nov. 2009. I’ve told you guys family stories, personal hobbies some struggles with health. I give you an honest look into my actual, real-to-life opinions each week, and by now, if you read weekly, you undoubtedly have a pretty accurate picture into who I am as a sports fan.
But now, I’m going to tell you by biggest secret — so big that I was a little bit apprehensive about putting it into these pages.
OK, that’s a big overdramatic. It’s not THAT big of a secret. But here goes: I am an avid fan of soap operas. By avid fan, I mean — I watch every day. When I can watch live (most days), I watch online on delay.
I watch The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.
I know I know. The acting is bad. The writing is even worse. I know. Believe me, I know. I just can’t help but to be fascinated by all of the sleaze squeezed into a one-hour block of television.
So what does my dirty little secret have to do with sports?
Well, this past week, I was combing through an episode of Y&R when I got a news alert bulletin on my phone about the LHSAA.
Apparently during summer meetings, Executive Director Eddie Bonine was tasked with coming up with proposals to end the tumultuous split within the association. In addition to that, he also has been tasked with coming up with scenarios to classify select schools as their own subset within the association — almost placing them into their own little sub-league within the association.
Then, it all clicked.
My affinity for soap operas is because of my affinity for a routine and for familiarity in the things I consume.
The biggest soap opera of all is the LHSAA and the politics around it.
And I’ve been covering that soap opera now nine-plus years running.
The happenings of the summer are dramatic, but mostly insignificant.
OK, so it’s Bonine’s job to come up with ways to bring the association back together.
There’s a problem with that.
Throughout the past several years, countless proposals have been formed and proposed to end the split and each time, Louisiana high school principals have voted overwhelmingly to keep it in tact — most times with the same 65-70-percent majority or thereabouts.
The split is what principals in the state want and it’s not going away any time soon.
Instead of coming up with ways to end it, what the association should do is look into eliminating some of the things that happen every, single year right from under their nose.
Doing that would maybe build up some trust with principals who maybe, just maybe would then be more inclined to support some of the proposals that the association brings.
There absolutely, positively has to be a stiff crackdown on transfers and these “hardship waivers” that are granted — especially when a player is moving to a neighboring school.
I’m not blind. I know how the game works.
Player X starts his career at one school, then transfers to another — almost always a school that just so happens to be better at the sport that Player X plays. It’s crazy how that works, right?
The player is granted a hardship because LHSAA investigators come with their little clipboards and compare addresses to paperwork. They then determine that Player X made a “legitimate move”, because everything adds up at a quick glance.
I’m no fool. Nine times out of 10, no one ever actually relocates in the process — it’s all a bait and switch.
Player X just commutes a little further and goes to his new school without ever having to sit out a day.
Or on the rare occasion that a “legitimate move” is made, it’s 100 percent obvious that the move is due to athletics purposes, which is a LHSAA violation, in and of itself.
But it’s almost never enforced as such.
And that’s wrong.
Or how about this?
How about we tighten zoning restrictions state-wide and create a uniform set of rules for EVERYONE to follow?
Locally, zoning is mostly tight. If you live in XYZ Street, you go to a certain school — period. If you live in ABC Street, you go to a certain school.
There’s little grey area. It’s mostly fair and uniform for everyone — when enforced properly.
But other parishes have open boundaries where parents can literally pick which schools their child goes to within their parish. In some household, kids live in the same house, but go to different schools based on the sports they play.
Again, that’s wrong.
Whether for or against the split, we all have to agree by now that there are problems with the association that need to be fixed.
Enforce the rules, clean up the cheating and then maybe there will be enough trust build back up that principals may support a move to bring schools back together.
Now, I’ll go back to watching Victor Newman. •