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LHSAA to member schools: Penalties for starting early

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has a warning to their member schools: Do not think about starting summer activities before the June 8 start date.
According to the National Federation of High Schools calender, which the LHSAA uses, the original start date for summer workouts and activities were set to begin on May 17. However, on May 13 the LHSAA Executive Committee made the decision to postpone those activities to June 8.
This past Friday, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine felt it necessary to fire off another memo to the member school. The reason being: A number of calls to the LHSAA office inquiring about the penalties that a school could face if they chose to begin on Monday instead of the new date of June 8.
“To a person here, we were set back by this question,” Bonine said in the memo. “I will not rehash the content of the last communication sent to all of you, however student, coach, athletic trainer and others’ safety and the equity of everyone starting at the time ‘prepared for the mitigation measures’ for that safety was instrumental in the decision to postpone the May 17, 2020 start date and move it to June 8, 2020.”
“The questions asked led me to believe one is contemplating, or one has heard someone is contemplating ignoring the change, and, while doing so, is blatantly ignoring the basis and/or rationale for the decision,” Bonine continued.
If schools choose to go rogue and ignore the decision of the Executive Committee, the LHSAA would be able to invoke Rule 5.11.14 which states “Schools involved in infractions inconsistent with wholesome competition or a wholesome athletic program, including sportsmanship violations”
Those violations include: placing the school in administrative, disciplinary, restrictive, or suspension probation not to exceed one calendar year; suspension of the school from the Association until the alleged infraction is assessed by the Executive Committee (the school would then have to pay a $500 fine to lift the suspension).
On top of that, the offending school could also be fined up to $2,500, be prohibited from playing home contests in a sport(s) not to exceed one calendar year, be suspended from participating in a sport(s) not to exceed one calendar year and be prohibited from playing in a home and/or away contest(s) with a certain spectator(s) in attendance for up to one year.
The coach of said sport would also be penalized with suspensions.
“In closing, it is truly our hope all of you across our state will display patience, adhere to the date change and apply common sense during the next 25 calendar days,” Bonine said. “Please do not put this office in a position where we have to be involved in a punitive manner, affecting a school(s) entire summer and/or potentially affecting a successful on time fall sports season start for everyone.”

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