It appears that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and a group of Livonia High parents are set to be back in court at Louisiana’s 19th Judicial District on Thursday. Or the two groups could be bound for the Louisiana State Supreme Court.
“Right now it all depends on what the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal does,” Baton Rouge attorney Rob Marionneaux said. “The LHSAA submitted a writ to stop the hearing and we’d actually already submitted one to keep it on the schedule.
“Based on the fact that it’s after 7 o’clock and we haven’t heard anything, I’d like to think that means they’re reading some of the documentation. That would be different than last night when they ruled without hearing from us. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Marionneaux is the lead attorney representing six Livonia parents who are looking to get the school’s baseball team placed in the LHSAA’s Class 3A playoffs.
Last week the LHSAA ordered the school to forfeit 18 baseball games after a freshman student was found to be ineligible after an investigation.
The Pointe Coupee Parish school also was ordered to forfeit seven football games the student played in and to return its Class 3A runner-up trophy, along gate receipts for three playoff games.
Before the sanctions the Livonia baseball team was 22-4, rated 10th in the LHSAA’s unofficial power rankings and also was ranked second in 3A by the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association.
The parents filed suit in the 18th and 19th Judicial districts Tuesday and were awarded a temporary restraining order by District Judge Todd Hernandez in the 19th.
The TRO initially prevented the LHSAA from releasing its 3A playoff bracket.
However, just after 7 p.m. Tuesday, the 1st Circuit Court granted the LHSAA request to garner some relief from the TRO. As a result of that 1st Circuit ruling, the LHSAA released its 3A pairings. Marionneaux said his group was not contacted at the LHSAA’s Tuesday night writ.
At that time, the appeals court said the 9:30 a.m. Thursday hearing in the 19th District Court could go on as scheduled.
“My understanding is that there is still going to be a hearing,” LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said. “At this time, I don’t know exactly what will be heard.”
Marionneaux provided some insight into what his arguments will be. Marionneaux also said if the 1st Circuit rules against allowing Thursday’s 19th District State Court hearing, his group plans to appeal immediately to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Late Wednesday Marionneaux emailed a document that included statements Henderson made during a deposition regarding a pending lawsuit in the Lake Charles area. When asked about transfer students, Henderson states in the deposition, “now if you’re a ninth-grader entering the first year, we do not consider you a transfer.”
The sanctions issued by the LHSAA last week called the infraction a violation of its school transfers rule.