Caddo Parish schools get reprieve, will not receive playoff bans _lowres


The LHSAA sportsmanship committee completed its hearing involving Bogalusa High on Wednesday at its office. When the committee’s findings will be released remains unclear.

An LHSAA news release stated the committee will submit its recommendations to Executive Director Eddie Bonine on or before the end of the business day Thursday.

The release also noted findings may not be available until after a second sportsmanship hearing for Amite High on Jan. 7.

Bonine and assistant executive director Keith Alexander, who presided over the hearing, opted not to make a statement and instructed the media to use the news release.

Bogalusa and Amite were involved in an altercation that led to their Class 3A quarterfinal football playoff game being halted by contest officials with about two minutes remaining and Amite winning 56-20.

A hearing conducted three days after the game led Bonine to remove Amite from the playoffs, putting St. James in the title game played last weekend without playing a semifinal game. Both schools were told at that time that a formal sportsmanship hearing would follow.

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board sought a temporary restraining order to put the Warriors back in the playoffs. However, 19th Judicial District Judge William Morvant ruled the court didn’t have the authority to overturn Bonine’s decision.

St. James 41-14 lost to rival Lutcher in last Saturday’s Class 3A title game. The Wednesday hearing was the next phase for both schools. Amite sought and received an extension on its hearing date, while Bogalusa opted to have its hearing as scheduled.

The news release stated once Bonine reviews the recommendations of the committee he has the authority to accept them, adjust them or make additional sanctions. He will also decide when the findings will be released.

Principal Lesley McKinley, Athletic Director Kenneth Martin and first-year head coach David Roberts were among those who testified during the hearing that lasted just under 90 minutes. Three game officials also testified. All three declined comment after the hearing.

McKinley read part of a letter of apology he sent on behalf of the school and said the school is taking the situation seriously. Martin described watching parts of the incident unfold on the field was “scary.”

Both the contest officials and the Bogalusa group confirmed that they saw some fans from both teams come over fences onto the field during the altercation and noted that they saw multiple fights on the field and noted only a small number of players remained on the sideline.