CROWLEY – The Crowley High Ladies were dealt a crippling, if not fatal, blow to their postseason hopes recently when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association penalized CHS’ girls basketball and volleyball teams for the use of an academically ineligible player.
The violation was self reported on Jan. 15 when CHS officials became aware of the oversight.
The penalties include the forfeiture of eight basketball games, including one District 4-3A game, which in all likelihood ends the Ladies’ hopes of advancing to postseason play.
“It was just something that was missed,” said CHS principal Jim McKeiver. “It was just going through the thing and the coaches just missed that part of it. It wasn’t intentional. Mistakes happen and it was a mistake.”
The student athlete in question failed to meet the scholastic requirements at the end of last year and should have been declared ineligible until the second semester of the 2012-13 school year.
Instead, the student was allowed to play a full season of volleyball and half of the 2012-13 basketball season.
In additon to the eight basketball forfeitures, the school was also to forfeit all volleyball games in which the student participated.
“Since the player was coming over from one sport, and played that sport, I just assumed that she was eligible,” said CHS girls basketball coach Alton Allen. “It was a bad assumption on my part. I check the eligibility on our athletes that don’t participate in any other sports than basketball.
“Coaches of other sports prior to basketball are supposed to check the eligibility of their athletes and it just didn’t happen that way.”
Prior to the ruling, the Ladies owned a 15-9 record and sat at No. 20 in the LHSAA’s unofficial power ratings that were released on Tuesday.
“We knew it was coming,” said Allen. “But it is still difficult looking at it on paper. With our record, we would have been in the playoffs. We may have not been seeded as high as we would have liked, but we would have still been in there. That’s all that matters.”
“Now, I don’t know if 7-17 and the wins we have, if it’s enough quality wins, to garner enough power points to get into the playoffs.”
Allen said his team continued to play hard even after learning that they would probably have forfeit some of the games. The Ladies went 7-2 since the school self-reported itself and upset league leader South Beauregard along the way.
“It happened and there was nothing that we could do about it,” said Allen. “But at that point, we had nine games left and I told them what we do from here on out will determine if we get in the playoffs or not. The kids did a good job of putting that behind them and they really focused on the games that we had left.
“That was the hand that was dealt to us and all would could do was play it.”
Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot, whose team defeated Crowley High twice this year, said the recent events are unfortunate.
“I think Crowley is still a very good team and I am disappointed that they possibly won’t be given the opportunity to represent the district in the postseason,” said Theriot. “It’s going to be disappointing because they have some girls out there that can play. It’s just a shame because it’s not the kid’s fault.”
In addition to the forfeitures, Crowley High will be fined $50 per student/per contest, not to exceed $200. The player participated in six volleyball games, all of which were lost, so total fine for volleyball is $200. The player also competed in 13 basketball games, eight of which they won, and will cost Crowley High an additional $200.
The games the Ladies must forfeit include victories over St. Martinville, Lutcher, Ascension Episcopal, Cecilia and Westminster in November of 2012 and one against Washington Marion in Dec. They also have to vacate victories over Mamou and Iowa in January this year.
Also, the head coach of each sport must attend the next LHSAA Handbook Certification class or enroll, complete, and pass the LHSAA/NFHS Online Fundamentals of Coaching course.
The player in question, who is a senior, will be ruled ineligible at all levels of play in the LHSAA sports until she meets the requirements of the LHSAA Scholastic Rule.