A 5-2 high school football team in Louisiana became an 0-7 team in an instant on Monday following a steep punishment handed down from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.
As reported by the Baton Rouge Advocate, the LHSAA ruled that all seven of Baton Rouge Belaire’s football games this season, including five victories, should be deemed a forfeit due to the extensive use of ineligible players. In particular, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine announced that 10 players had been found ineligible, two due to academic restrictions and eight because they were not properly registered with the LHSAA before beginning to compete for the Bengals. In addition to a $2,000 fine, Belaire football coach Claude Coleman and boys basketball coach and athletic director Chauncey Moore were suspended from their positions for a full year in connection with the violations.
Belaire assistant coach Kevin Jackson will lead the team in the absence of Coleman on an interim basis, according to the Advocate. Incredibly, three Belaire coaches were also found to have been registered improperly with the LHSAA.
While Bonine said that announcing the sanctions against Belaire made for a tough day, he also insisted that the rules are in place for the good of the broader student athlete community, state-wide.
“The rules are in place to ensure safety, No. 1, and also for competitive balance and consistency,” Bonine told the Advocate. “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. We’re only as good as our weakest link and unfortunately Belaire High School is caught in the crosshairs.”