Thursday, October 24, 2019
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A Louisiana school seeks coaches after sanctions

McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has several excellent sports teams, but the state high school athletic association handed down severe sanctions last week and forced the new principal to scramble to find coaches who can rebuild those teams, The Advocate reports.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association ruled Wednesday against the school, handing it $41,968 in fines and a two-year postseason ban in all sports beginning this fall.

The teams at the Class 5A school will also

  • Forfeit several games or events in multiple sports
  • Suspend several “faculty” and “non-faculty” coaches for 2018-19
  • Forfeit Division I runner-up finishes in girls’ basketball for 2017 & 2018

Now the school administration needs to put eight new coaches in place, and there’s a possibility that incoming freshmen will look for a home at another school that will allow them to play in the postseason.

“We can tell the parents our goal is: Get the best people available to coach their children as we move forward,” the paper quoted Esrom Pitre, the school’s new principal, as saying. “We would like to find coaches who will be part of our faculty.”

It comes down to this: A few adults made some administrative mistakes. They let paperwork slip through the cracks and also let some junior varsity students play in games they shoudln’t have. Maybe it’s been going on at several schools for many years, but it’s technically a violation of the LHSAA rules. And McKinley is just a big enough school that the LHSAA can devote the resources it needs to investigate the infractions.

Although more than 150 violations were cited in the LHSAA sanctions, none of them would be considered major rules violations, and many were done in order to get junior players some valuable experience. Most involved leaving paperwork incomplete or allowing athletes to participate when their eligibility had not been documented.

Birth certificates, parent consent forms, and physical exam forms were either incomplete or missing, according to the citations. Not only that, but some competing student-athletes weren’t properly registered in the LHSAA database.

Coaches considered the sanctions unprecedented, especially the two-year postseason ban, but they say some of the issues could have been resolved if LHSAA officials had contacted them during the postseason investigation.

“Playing transfers on the JV team is something people have done for years in a lot of sports,” one coach was quoted as saying. “We thought they were OK as long as they did not play varsity because we’ve seen it before.”

Another added, “We are at the bottom of the food chain. We can submit students, but someone else has to register them with the LHSAA.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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