Lyons: Reclassification brings big changes to River Parishes

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016

There are some big changes coming ahead.

And not everyone is going to like them.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association held the first of three meetings last week to discuss and detail the reclassification plan for next school year and beyond.

Member schools had to turn in their enrollment figures to the LHSAA to determine their classifications.

Some schools got bigger; some got smaller. Schools did have the option of “playing up” to a higher classification or remaining in the one determined by their enrollment. They had to declare that intention by Nov. 9.

Some decided playing up wasn’t good for them.

Some have no choice.

Of course East St. John High, the largest school in the area, will remain in Class 5A along with Destrehan and Hahnville.

According to the new numbers, Lutcher, the 2015 Class 3A state champion now on a quest for a repeat, will move up to Class 4A next season.

St. James, last year’s Class 3A runner-up, which was bounced from the playoffs last week by Peabody, will remain in Class 3A.

It will be joined by St. Charles Catholic, which moves from Class 2A up to Class 3A.

But with a fight.

Comets coach Frank Monica did try to appeal his school’s numbers last week, asking the LHSAA to reconsider the count that put his school in the higher classification.

According to Monica, a rule was put in by the School Relations Committee that required schools to submit their enrollment from eighth grade through 12th grade.

In order to get a projection for next year’s possible enrollment, the schools were told to turn in their eighth grade number, which in St. Charles’ case totaled 55, twice.

That gave St. Charles an enrollment of 393 and put the Comets into Class 3A.

Once they get in the playoffs next year, they will be in the Select School Division II, with teams from Class 4A.

Monica said that’s the part he objected to.

“The schools from 3A and 4A are put together in the playoffs,” he said. “St. Thomas More and Teurlings Catholic have over 1,000 kids. We can’t expect to win anything playing against those types of numbers.”

The LHSAA denied Monica’s request for a recount so, unless something changes at the next two meetings, the Comets will be in Class 3A with St. James and, most likely, a district with De La Salle, Kipp, Cohen, Haynes, Thomas Jefferson, which is playing up, and Sophie B. Wright, which also elected to play up.

Riverside Academy will stay in Class 2A, but will lose St. Charles and West St. John as district opponents.

Rebels coach Bill Stubbs said he and his staff will work to keep them on the schedule, though.

“They’re good, quality opponents and they’re good rivalry games,” he said.

West St. John High coach Brandon Walters said his school will drop down to Class 1A, where his 187 enrollment number puts him.

“We play Riverside and St. Charles and they might have 100 people on the sidelines,” Walters said.

“For us, though, it just makes the most sense to play in 1A. That is the best thing for our other teams.”

Of course, there are still underground rumblings of a complete split between the public and private schools in the years to come.

And we all are about to embark on a basketball season that will split the public and private schools into separate brackets for the first time. Instead of eight champions, there will be 13. Softball will do the same in the spring.

No one knows how any of that will work.

Yes, big changes are on the way, and not everyone will like them.

Lori Lyons is sports editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at or 985-652-9545.