Appeals by Southern Lab and West Monroe will be a focal point of the LHSAA’s two-day executive committee meeting that begins Wednesday.
Confirmation of Southern Lab’s appeal emerged when the LHSAA released the agenda for the meeting that begins at 1 p.m. at the LHSAA office in Baton Rouge. Southern Lab Director Herman Brister Jr. said the school seeks a dialog about the sanctions released Aug. 22, days after a 10-month investigation done by an out-of-state law firm was turned over to the LHSAA by the school.
Southern Lab was ordered to vacate Division I select LHSAA football titles in 2015 and 2016, a runner-up finish in 2014 and was banned from the postseason for 2017 and 2018 based on findings in the investigation’s report of more than 90 pages. Brister said the fine was announced as $5,000 and then raised to $17,000.
LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said the amount of the fine was not increased to $17,000 and that the additional $12,000 was actually repayment of a playoff guarantee and gate receipts from playoff games in 2016, something mandated by the LHSAA handbook.
In addition, the LHSAA suspended coach Marcus Randall for one year. Randall was terminated by the school and former SLHS quarterback Darrell Asberry is now the head coach.
Other coaches who were not named in the ruling received suspensions of either one or two years. The number of current and former Southern Lab players involved in the violations has not been announced.
“What we want to do is have an honest discussion about this,” said Brister, who took over at SLHS in August after serving as principal at McKinley. “This is a report the school submitted to the association, hoping in turn to receive some consideration for doing the honorable thing and self-reporting violations this investigation found.
“We would like to know what exactly the LHSAA saw in the report that led to the sanctions we received. That has not been explained to us. Getting some relief from those sanctions and consideration for our student/athletes is also something we seek, and also financial relief.”
Bonine said he looks forward to the dialog and said an investigation conducted by his office last week found Southern Lab to be in compliance on eligiblity and other LHSAA matters.
"Based on our investigation, Southern Lab is doing all the right things now," Bonine said. "I think Mr. Brister is the man to get them where they need to be. I look forward to good discussion. They can call the $12,000 an additional fine, but it's not and that has been explained to the school and their counsel. The maximum amount I can fine a school is $5,000. It says that in the handbook. The handbook also says the LHSAA 'shall collect guarantees for championship events and gate receipts from playoff games.' "
The West Monroe appeal for player Isaiah George is one of six involving student/athletes that the executive committee will hear. West Monroe previously announced its plans to appeal sanctions on George’s eligibility and not the four-game suspension levied against coach Jerry Arledge for contacting players from other schools.
A series of reports by staff members and proposals by coaches associations representing individual LHSAA sports is also part of the agenda. Classification/districting for Booker T. Washington-New Orleans and the consolidation of Shreveport’s Booker T. Washington and Fair Park are other listed agenda items.