By Regan Edwards and WPJ Staff
There’s ample advantages to Glenbrook School’s move into the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, after being in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools for many years.
That doesn’t mean there’s across-the-board agreement among the Glenbrook community.
Yes, there’s no question that travel costs for teams will be greatly reduced.
Yes, there’s no doubt that area interest, and perhaps support and enrollment, in Glenbrook will be ramped up because the Apaches are playing nearby schools in Haynesville, Homer, Arcadia, Bossier City and many other surrounding communities – including, hopefully, the Webster Parish public schools.
Yes, playing those schools should significantly increase gate receipts at home games.
Yes, the chances are soaring of Glenbrook teams’ highlights showing up on Shreveport TV stations, and on other media platforms such as the wildly-popular Tim Fletcher Show on KWKH-AM radio each weekday morning. Having high-profile coaches David Feaster (athletic director/football, former highly-successful coach at Minden, Parkway and Many, among other stops) and Cheryl Ford (girls’ basketball, former WNBA star) ramps up the media appeal in the Shreveport market.
But the unknown is hard to swallow for more than a few former players, alumni and supporters contacted by the Webster Parish Journal. Nobody wanted to be quoted, but there’s certainly plenty of concern about the LHSAA move.
The MAIS is all Glenbrook alumni and supporters have ever known. Nearly every rivalry will end, and new ones will take time to develop.
The Glenbrook teams will not be eligible for the playoffs in the 2021-22 school year as the school completes a probationary period required of all incoming LHSAA members. The Glenbrook baseball program, MAIS champions in May, will not reach postseason next spring.
There’s a lot of doubt expressed, privately, by some who worry that Glenbrook teams will not measure up competitively to their LHSAA neighbors, and scoreboards will show it.
There are some who prefer not to take the field against the public schools at all.
There are some who fear that the local public schools will not want to play Glenbrook because of a perception that the Apaches, being a private school, could effectively recruit and bring in talented athletes from outside the school’s traditional Minden-area base.
Spinning off that suggestion, there are those who wonder if, in fact, Glenbrook will follow in the footsteps of Shreveport’s Evangel and Calvary Baptist in Bossier City, private schools that have certainly broadened enrollment access resulting in great athletic success. If that develops, some speculate it could happen at the expense of some of the young people who have been advancing at Glenbrook to take their presumed places in lineups of Apache teams in 2022 and beyond.
Glenbrook’s leadership carefully weighed the options before choosing to make the move. Along with travel costs was the reality that some MAIS schools were switching to eight-man football to save costs and deal with enrollment declines, which created schedule challenges and much more travel for the Apaches, who are committed to playing standard 11-man football.
The WPJ welcomes comments from anyone who cares to share their perspective on this hot-button issue that is simmering below the radar around Glenbrook this summer.