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19th Judicial Court Declares LHSAA Private Entity

Posted: 12-07-2011 | Categories: Administrators

BATON ROUGE, LA (Dec. 7, 2011) – The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA)  announced today that the 19th Judicial District Court has declared the organization a private entity according to a November 28, 2011 ruling issued by Judge Todd Hernandez. A motion against the State of Louisiana was heard on August 29, 2011 asking for a summary judgment in the matter.

The LHSAA was formed in 1920 and was established as a Louisiana non-profit corporation in 1988. The LHSAA consists of public and non-public Louisiana high schools that voluntarily apply for membership and are accepted in accordance with the corporation’s articles of incorporation, its constitution and by-laws.

Based on the ruling issued, in the eyes of the 19th Judicial District Court, the LHSAA is a private entity when it comes to making and enforcing the association’s rules. According to the court, Article 3, Section 12 of the Louisiana Constitution prohibits the legislature from passing any law that amends, changes, or explains the charters of any private corporation. The Court also held that the Legislature’s actions violated LHSAA’s constitutional right to equal protection and due process of law. Therefore, state laws enacted in past years have been declared unconstitutional by the ruling. One of the laws which the Court struck down was a recent law stating that the definition of the word “family” as used in LHSAA rules would not include grandfathers and grandmothers. Other laws specifically cited in the judgment were Act 465 of 1997 and Act 691 of 2010, making changes in the LHSAA rule on home school student eligibility. The ruling is expected to be appealed and eventually heard by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Once affirmation is received, the LHSAA’s Executive Committee will make decisions regarding student athletes covered by Act 465 and the home school students. The primary purpose in filing the lawsuit was to establish that LHSAA, as a private organization, has the legal right to make its own rules without political interference. The LHSAA had by-laws that allowed home school students to participate at it member schools prior to the state law being passed and has no reason not to continue to allow home school students and those affected by Act 465 to be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics at its member schools in accordance with its rules.

The November 28 ruling also declared the LHSAA a quasi-public agency for the limited purpose of specific state statutes regarding the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

About the LHSAA
The LHSAA is a private entity that provides and regulates interscholastic athletic programs that promote fair and equitable competition among its member schools that is in the best interest of the student athlete. For more information about the LHSAA, visit www.lhsaa.org.

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