During the 2014 legislative session, ACT 476, authored by Sen. Dan Claitor, was signed into law by Governor Jindal. ACT 476 basically states that no public or non-public school that receives any public funds may be a member of or participate in any competition sponsored by any intrastate interscholastic extra-curricular athletic association or organization that does not provide for third-party arbitration on eligibility issues. ACT 476 can be viewed HERE in its entirety.
On June 25, 2014, as a result of the passage of this law, the LHSAA Executive Committee convened by conference call and pass the new rules below (highlighted in Yellow) for the Association. The new rules can be seen HERE. Please note that the main rationale for the Committee adopting these rules was to prevent our principals and their member schools from violating a state law. Additionally, with the alternative being no organized association to run high school athletics, our 90,000 plus student-athletes would possibly be robbed of a year of high school athletics as we know it with state championships at premier venues.
Please read the adopted rules carefully and note the following:
- Third-party arbitration is only an option after all remedies offered by the LHSAA have been exhausted. Only a member school principal can request arbitration and must do so in writing within 15 days of the Executive Committee’s or Hardship Committee’s ruling. As stated in the newly adopted rules, for 2013-14 eligibility rulings appealed and denied by the Executive Committee or Hardship Committee that affect a student’s eligibility for the 2014-15 school year, a member school, upon official notification by the LHSAA shall be have a 15-day period to send written notification to the LHSAA of its desire to seek third-party arbitration on the case or until July 11, 2014 by 4:00 p.m. The written request must be postmarked by July 11, 2014 or delivered AND received from the principal’s registered email address by the stated deadline or the arbitration option is lost. While the third-party arbitration is taking place, the student’s eligibility shall be governed by the ruling of the Executive Committee or the Hardship Committee, i.e., eligible or ineligible as stipulated in the Committee’s ruling.
- The initial fee to begin arbitration (we have been informed that this will be approximately $3,500) must be paid by the school directly to the arbitration association AND the $5,000 must also be on deposit with the LHSAA before the arbitration process will begin. The information we have gathered thus far indicates that the initial Should the school prevail these monies will be refunded to the school. If the school does not, any remaining portion of the deposit will be refunded OR, if the arbitration cost exceeds the $5000 deposit, the member school shall be responsible for the balance and said balance must be paid within 30 days of being invoiced. Failure to do so will cause the school to be placed on restrictive probation and ineligible for championship honors in any sport until the outstanding amount and a ten percent penalty are received.
- Because of the possible costs associated with arbitration, the Committee also passed additional legislation to finance these possible costs to your Association. A reserve or escrow account in the amount of $100,000 will be established and only be used to pay actual arbitration expenses incurred by the Association. To establish the initial amount, each school will assessed a $257 arbitration assessment for the 2014-15 school year. Thereafter, the arbitration assessment each school shall pay will depend upon the account balance. Each school will be charged the same arbitration assessment because school size has no bearing on the arbitration cost.
- The complete arbitration process is still being formulated including selecting and signing a contract with the American Arbitration Association. Once the total process is completed more information will be disseminated to you.
- Please note that under no circumstance may new information regarding the student’s eligibility ruling be submitted in the arbitration proceeding. Only the information submitted and upon which the Executive Committee or Hardship ruling was based may be used in the arbitration proceeding.
The Committee also discussed possible legal action to have Sen. Claitor’s bill (Act 476) declared unconstitutional. After considering the advice of our legal counsel, the Executive Committee voted and approved authorizing the LHSAA’s attorney to immediately file suit to do this. Unless and until the law suit is settled, the arbitration and any results will be dictated by the rules pass by the Executive Committee on June 25, 2014.