Two days after the LHSAA executive committee voted unanimously to delay its summer practice dates to June 8 as part of a COVID-19 return-to-sports plan, executive director Eddie Bonine fired off a second memo. It details a list of sanctions schools could face by violating the new practice date.
Sanctions include placing a school on probation, suspending a school from the LHSAA or from participating in specific LHSAA sports for up to a year, fines of up to $2,500, along with the cost of any hearing/investigation. Coaches also face suspensions.
Though the LHSAA does not govern summer activities for its schools, the memo notes that pushing the summer practice date back extends the LHSAA’s jurisdiction over schools and their sports until June 8.
The two-page memo was sent to parish athletic directors, school superintendents and coaches Friday. Bonine states that the LHSAA office fielded calls from principals, coaches and athletic directors asking about penalties schools would face if they chose to begin summer practice rules on the original date, May 17.
“To a person here, we were set back by this question. The questions asked lead me to believe that one is contemplating ignoring the change, and by doing so, is blatantly ignoring the basis and/or rationale for the decision,” the memo said.
Bonine did not review the contents of the ruling sent May 13 after a conference call meeting of the LHSAA’s executive committee. The memo did point out that the date change was designed to give all schools the chance to start workouts at the same time with proper plans for mitigation.
A list of 11 categories of sanctions also included a $500 readmission fee for schools suspended from the LHSAA. Schools could be prohibited from playing home games in a specific sport for up to a year. Schools could also be barred from playing games with spectators present.
In closing, Bonine asked schools and coaches to remain patient until June 8. The memo states, “Please do not put this office in a position where we have to be involved in a punitive manner, affecting a school’s entire summer and/or potentially affecting a successful on time fall sports season start for everyone.”