A Louisiana High School Athletic Association sportsmanship committee deliberated for nearly three hours Tuesday before opting to suspend a total of 18 football players from Baker High School and Parkview Baptist from their games this week.
Ten players from Baker and seven from Parkview received one-game suspensions. One Baker player was suspended for the final two games of the regular season.
Each school was also fined $1,000, placed on disciplinary probation for one year and assessed the cost for holding the hearing that came as the result of the Oct. 14 altercation.
That altercation came with 6:41 left in the third period and led to the game being stopped by the officiating crew with defending Class 3A state champion PBS leading 22-0.
“It was real tough because the video (of the altercation) we received from both schools was not complete,” LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said. “We never want a sportsmanship hearing. It’s not that the fight takes place, it’s how you handle it.
“We want our principals to take appropriate action without coming to a sportsmanship hearing. I feel like they (the committee) did a good job of sorting things out.”
LHSAA assistant executive director Keith Alexander presided over the hearing that involved testimony from school officials, including the principals and head coaches, and the game officials.
Three member principals from the LHSAA’s executive committee — James Gray of Westgate-New Iberia, David Federico of Ecole Classique and Lee Bellard of Church Point — were also part of the committee that made the ruling.
Parkview coach Kenny Guillot and Baker coach Robert Raines were ordered to attend LHSAA handbook certification classes next month, along with Baker Principal Traci Morgan and PBS Principal Melanie Ezell.
The coaching staff for both schools are required to enroll and complete the National Federation of High School Associations Teaching and Modeling Behavior course and Sportsman course within 14 days.
Parkview was also reprimanded for a lack of administrative control for not having an administrator present in the stadium at all times, allowing the football stadium lights to be turned out before everyone exited the stadium safely, allowing a small child to be on the sideline, and not taking disciplinary action by identifying its students involved.
Baker’s corrective plan of action — that included identifying players involved with a provision to suspend them — was praised by the committee. Baker was prohibited from having an alumni chaperone, Mitchell Jackson, in attendance at any school sporting event for one year.
In addition, the committee recommended that the performance of the game officials be reviewed by an independent source.
The LHSAA does not release names of athletes involved in sanctions. The organization identified the players involved only by their uniform numbers.
Based on game rosters, the Parkview Baptist players suspended for Friday’s home game against West Feliciana are Brody Burkhalter, Denton Kirby, Alex Ginn, Thomas Carter, Morgan Rushing, Todd Hollingsworth and Alex O’Neal.
Baker’s players suspended for Friday’s home game against Sojourner Truth-New Orleans are Rashaun Curtis, Charles McCray, Deontre Hunt, Derrick London, Lavarius Williams, Kensley Septs, Ryan Keys, Justin Ennis, Sevon Brown, Dejon Smith and Herbert Bell. Bell will also have to miss the home finale against Glen Oaks.
“I’m disappointed about the events that took place and the sanctions that were imposed upon us, but I do understand them,” Baker’s Morgan said. “I’m glad this is over so we can move forward and do exactly what the association has asked us to do, which is a take a very proactive approach to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Parkview’s Ezell added, “It’s a group of our peers that we agreed to let determine what would happen. As in most of these things, much of it will be helpful and we’ll move on from here.”
Game officials Al Toups, Alton Booth, Brian Wynne, Dale Auzenne and Kelly McGovern all testified about various events in the game, including a play in which the Baker athletes thought the team had scored a touchdown.
The officials ruled that the Baker player fumbled before reaching the goal line and the ball rolled through the end zone, resulting in a touchback, giving the ball to Parkview.
Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties — one against Raines and the other against the BHS sideline — followed. On Parkview’s first play after that, another penalty was called against Baker. The altercation began at that point.
Each side gave differing accounts of what happened, including how long the brawl went on. Baker’s written statements also said its players were subjected to racial slurs, something Parkview’s Guillot refuted and game officials said they had no knowledge of.
“In this kind of thing you really don’t know what to expect,” Baker Athletic Director Gary Mitchell said. “I thought it (the ruling) was firm. They sent a message and we respect that.
“We turned in most of those (player) numbers ourselves. It was the right thing for us to do.”
Guillot, who is also the school’s athletic director, said he plans to go back and review the film.
“I figured they’d sanction us both,” Guillot said. “I’m going to go back and look at the film and get with our coaching staff to see what we need to do differently.”