By Lauren Lenox
Growing up in Louisiana, most people were born and raised a football fan. Each year, football fans both experienced and new look forward to fall Friday nights under the lights.
The rivalries are thrilling, especially during the Louisiana high school playoffs. Teams are finally able to play the best of the best from around the state.
Within the past few years, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) separated the football playoffs into two divisions: Select and Non-Select. The Select division is comprised of private and semi-private schools around the state.
Now instead of five state championships, there are a total of nine.
The downfall of the new Select system is the lack of teams in each division. In Division I, there are only eight select schools able to compete which is difficult for the playoff brackets.
At the beginning of the 2014 football season, the LHSAA established a new power rating system. The new system allows teams to earn bonus points towards their playoff rankings if a team plays an opponent from a higher classification.
Also, it allows for teams in Division II within the Select group, who are normally classified as 4A or 3A during the regular season, to play in Division I of the playoffs.
This is good news for the teams who are members of 4A or 3A classes but what about the 5A schools? The 5A schools do not receive any bonus points due to the fact that there are no opponents for them to play in a higher classification.
Why would the LHSAA create a power rating system if not all teams could take advantage of the development?
Not only did the LHSAA separate the Select schools from the regular playing field but it created an easier playoff bracket for Non-Select schools which did not stand a chance against the private schools.
The LHSAA did not think about the complications that would be caused with the new power rating system. It is unfair to the 5A schools which are part of the Catholic League, for example, because they are cheated of their actual ranking within Division I.
Head coaches and athletic directors are upset with the new addition to the Select schools playoff system and frankly, fans are too.
As a high school football fan, Select teams should be able to play Non-Select teams whether it is during regular season play or during the playoffs. Why should we segregate schools? The playing fields may be a little different but at the end of the day it is just a football game.
Also, the new power rating system should not be a factor when it comes to football because it seems arrogant. The fact that LHSAA is trying to keep the system fair has only made it become unfair to the eight Select schools in Division I.