NEW ORLEANS — LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine announced they’re moving forward with the start of the prep football season in a month, whether or not the governor takes Louisiana out of Phase Two.
Questions still remain in Orleans Parish, but for at least 63 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, prep football begins on Oct. 8-10.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bonine said. “The patience has paid off and I do not see any delay why we would not start football on the scheduled date of Oct. 8, ninth or tenth.”
With those words, Bonine told the House Education Committee that prep football was starting whether Louisiana stayed in Phase Two or moved to Phase Three.
“If everything goes as planned, I’d anticipate we could get football players in full gear and start full contact because those young men have been in helmets and shoulder pads for six weeks,” he said. “They’re ready to put on the lower gear and get after it.”
That committee meeting was filled with parents who wanted prep sports to start again. The obvious question though, does Bonine have the authority to not follow the governor’s guidance?
We asked Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“If you’ve looked at my proclamations, my proclamations have never said that you couldn’t play high school football,” he said. “I think what happened late in the Summer is the high school athletic association made a decision to link what phase we were in by my proclamation with what they would allow to happen on a school campus and they have opted to change that guidance now in the event that we don’t go to Phase Three.”
By mid-week this week, the governor will decide whether or not to take Louisiana from Phase Two to Phase Three. He hopes to do that, but he said he’ll follow the data.
Either way, Louisiana will be playing prep football. At least in 63 parishes.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was at the same press conference.
"You don't need to ask me that question. I mean, let's be real about it. We're not there. We're in Phase Two, with no contact sports at this time,” she said when asked about starting high school football.
So, if the Governor does not take Louisiana out of Phase Two, Orleans Parish Schools may not be playing football while the rest of the state is.
The mayor does have the right to enact restrictions stricter than the rest of the state if she deems that necessary.
Cantrell did not clarify that state about prep football. The only clarification from the City said the Saints sought an exemption as professional athletes.
So, right now in Orleans parish, there’s great confusion among coaches and athletic directors as the rest of the state gets ready to play in less than five weeks.