A Louisiana high school has been handed an unprecedented two-year all-sports postseason ban and a fine of more than $40,000 by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) after it was found guilty of a raft of eligibility/rules compliance violations in all its sports.
McKinley High School, in Baton Rouge, was fined $41,968.14, banned from the postseason for two years in all sports, was forced to forfeit runner-up finishes in Division I girls basketball for 2017 and 2018, and suspended both “faculty” and “non-faculty” coaches for the 2018-19 school year, per the Baton Rouge Advocate. The violations that triggered the fierce and unprecedented penalties are apparently related to nearly 150 registration violations, which are connected with a player presenting proper documentation to prove they are eligible to compete in LHSAA events.
“I can tell you we are going to everything we have to do get all the programs back to where they need to be,” Former McKinley football coach Robert Signater, appointed the school’s interim head coach/athletic director, told the Advocate. “The school and the student-athletes deserve it. We have a lot to do, but we will move forward.”
Critically, there is no sense or reporting that McKinley was involved in illegal recruiting of any sort. The fine is largest ever handed down by the LHSAA, and the two-year postseason ban across all sports is similarly unprecedented, per the Advocate.
McKinley was first sanctioned April 17 for violations discovered in the school’s girls junior varsity basketball, girls soccer, boys track and volleyball programs.
In the midst of the announcement of violations was the timing behind them. New McKinley principal Esrom Pitre — a former high school basketball coach — was in just his fourth day on the job when the sanctions were announced.
“We are committed to making sure our student-athletes have the opportunity to compete at a high level and also perform at a high level academically,” Pitre told the Advocate. “Like Coach Signater said, we have a lot to do in a short period of time.”
That short window of time starts now.