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LHSAA Suspends Coaches, Vacates Wins for HS Team

Courtney Cameron

After receiving an anonymous tip concerning the eligibility of several student-athletes on the Belaire High School football team, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association conducted an investigation which resulted in both disciplinary and administrative probation. The consequences include a $2,000 fine, suspensions for two coaches and five retroactive forfeits for the Belaire Bengals.

Ten Belaire student-athletes were found ineligible during the course of the LHSAA investigation.

The LHSAA requires eligible student-athletes to maintain a C-level grade point average during the semester prior to play, along with passing a minimum number of classes. Of the ten Belaire athletes found to be ineligible, two were disqualified on academic grounds, with one failing to meet the required GPA and another receiving a suspicious grade change without having completed any additional coursework.

The remaining six athletes were disqualified having failed to register with the LHSAA until after week six of the season, despite their participation in previous games. The LHSAA requires the registration of student athletes prior to the start of season in order to keep tabs on their academic progress, as well as to ensure that all players are of an appropriate age (not having turned 19 prior to September 1 or participating in more than eight consecutive seasons).

Executive director of the LHSAA Eddie Bonine told The Advocate, “The rules are in place to ensure safety, No. 1, and also for competitive balance and consistency. When a kid takes the field or the court in any part of the state, they’re supposed to meet these guidelines. We rely on our representatives in the field, which are the school personnel.”

Principal Roy Walker and school councilor Linda White have been placed on paid administrative leave along with football coach Claude Coleman and athletic director and coach Chauncey Moore. Assistant coach Kevin Jackson will serve as the interim coach for the season’s remaining games.

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