Acadiana accepts the state championship trophy after defeating Destrehan after the LHSAA Class 5A High School State Championship at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

All it took was one rule adjustment to put the LHSAA and some of its schools in the spotlight, or the crosshairs, depending on your point of view.

When the LHSAA’s executive committee voted to push the start date for summer practice rules back to June 8 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reaction was mixed. There were multiple vocal critics and some questioned whether the LHSAA would or could sanction violators.

Executive director Eddie Bonine fired off a two-page memo that detailed why and how the LHSAA can sanction schools for practicing early. And lo and behold, the list of schools reported for violating the June 8 mandate grew to double digits last week.

Part of me is a little surprised by this, because for many years the LHSAA was an organization about complaining. Lots of talk, but few people turned in by other schools. Parents not wanting their children to participate in what they were told were “required” workouts adds a new wrinkle.

Obviously, the ball is in the LHSAA’s court on what to do next. Some believe there will be nothing, or very little done. While none of us can eat at a buffet restaurant, Bonine has a smorgasbord of options available when it comes to sanctions. The list includes suspensions or probations for coaches, teams, schools, fines, etc.

I offer a one-word question — why? No one is doubting the fact that coaches and players miss each other and their sports so much. Heck, we all do. This is not a political football. Real ones are involved. Now two more questions — at what cost is this being done? And what are you teaching your student-athletes?

The change was designed to put all schools on equal footing in terms of remediation and to allow for workouts that can include more athletes in Phase 2 of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ re-opening of Louisiana. In the Baton Rouge area, many coaches won't have access to their campuses or equipment until this week. 

Yes, the LHSAA does not have jurisdiction over summer activities, but the date change extended its jurisdiction over schools to June 8. Whether some people understand that important point remains to be seen.

Some apparently think they can use Louisiana’s Phase 1 rule to get around the LHSAA. The LHSAA date is still June 8. And no, putting three kids each with 10 coaches, does not count. That is bending an offseason rule coaches use during the school year. 

One explanation I expect to hear is “a nonfaculty assistant coach who did not know the rules did it.” Sorry, but the LHSAA has stated many times over my 29 years that not knowing the rules is no defense.

Bottom line: What are the people involved thinking? Thinking of themselves and their team only and not a big picture they can’t grasp.

We will know what the LHSAA thinks soon enough.

Bears mourn Shepherd

Former Catholic High basketball player Demarcus Shepherd died from injuries suffered in an ATV accident earlier this week. He was a recent LSU graduate.

Shepherd, a 2016 Catholic graduate, is remembered as an ultimate team player. A 6-foot-5 post player, he started for the Bears as a senior.

“Demarcus was a just a great kid … the best teammate and an outstanding student,” Catholic coach Mark Cascio said. “He always had a smile on his face. We texted back-and-forth a good bit and my wife and I saw him at the restaurant where he worked.

“He was looking forward to his future. He talked about getting a master’s degree and then a doctorate. I remember telling him that I wished I had things figured out that well as a 22-year-old.”

A gofundme account has been set up to help defray the expenses for Shepherd’s family.

Recruiting, etc.

Dutchtown girls basketball player Zaria Harleaux signed with Southern late last week.

• Scotlandville track and field throws specialist Nya Terrell signed with the UL women's team, while boys sprinter/hurdler Amaru Cavalier signed with Grambling.

• Brusly High volleyball player Hayleigh Harrison signed with Mississippi-based Tougaloo College. She is the Panthers' first volleyball signee in eight years.

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