Sanctions slam St. Mary Parish school for referee attack
West St. Mary High School’s athletic programs were hit by heavy sanctions as a result of a Nov. 1 incident involving Wolfpack football team members, an assistant coach and a referee.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association met Tuesday afternoon to hear the case.
The West St. Mary versus Erath football game was halted after an assistant coach was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct, a news release from the St. Mary Parish Superintendent of Schools Donald Aguillard stated.
A game referee was subsequently hit by two West St. Mary football players and pushed by an unidentified adult, he stated.
Aguillard said both players were suspended immediately following the incident and sent to a hearing with the child welfare and attendance officer. The assistant coach Kenneth Bashay was suspended of all coaching duties, he said.
LHSAA imposed numerous penalties to the West St Mary athletic program citing an “egregious breach of sportsmanship.”
The following sanctions were imposed:
—The school will be placed on disciplinary probation in all sports for one calendar year from the contest date. If any further sportsmanship incidents occur during the probationary period, the school will be placed on restrictive probation, ruled ineligible for post season competition in all sports for 2013-2015 and prohibited from playing any home contests in any sport during that period.
—The school will be fined the maximum penalty allowed of $1,000.
—The two players and assistant coach will be placed on probation until Nov. 1, 2014.
—The school will not be allowed to host their first three football games on their home field or any other field.
—Bashay may not be present on the team bench, press box or locker room. He also cannot be affiliated with the team traveling to and from games or during any game for the 2013-2015 school years. Failure to adhere to this stipulation will act to forfeit any contest in which Bashay is in attendance. In addition, Bashay will have his coaching card revoked for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year.
—The two football players will be suspended and ineligible for all athletic participation at any LHSAA school for the 2013-2015 school years. The players may not sit on the team bench, enter the locker room or be affiliated with the team in any manner while ineligible.
—West St. Mary must submit a complete and thorough game administration plan for hosting safe athletic contests to LHSAA by June 1. LHSAA will review the plan and inspect the facility to approve whether or not the school may hold home athletic contests.
—For the entire 2014 football season, the school must employ two police/deputies as security for officials from arrival to departure in addition to regular security detail.
—Educational sanctions also were imposed to ensure all coaches and athletes learn from the incident.
Head coach Marquis Newsome and assistant coach Bashay must attend the next LHSAA Handbook Certification Class or pass the LHSAA/National Federation of State High School Associations online Fundamentals of Coaching course. The entire football coaching staff must take the National Federation of State High School Associations Teaching and Modeling Behavior course. The entire 2014 football team shall be required to take the National Federation of State High School Associations Sportsmanship-It’s Up to You course prior to the start of the 2014 season.
Additional penalties may be imposed based on the identity of an unidentified adult believed to be involved in the incident. Head linesman Cedrick Brown testified during the disciplinary hearing that he was confronted by an unidentified adult male at half-time.
West St. Mary principal Dr. Derrick White has 15 days to appeal any of these sanctions.
Parish Athletic Director Lenny Armato said, “This type of behavior will not be tolerated in St. Mary Parish. The district will ensure that all sanctions imposed will be carried out to the fullest extent. We are committed to ensuring the safety and security at all athletic contests.”
Aguillard said Bashay was suspended of all coaching duties, but teaching positions remain in place. White will ultimately determine staffing needs for next school year, he said.
In addition, the school system and the school face a lawsuit from the injured referee, Steven Leger.
Leger was among several referees jogging off the field when members of the Wolfpack team surrounded him, Leger’s suit states. Two players “assaulted and battered the plaintiff, striking him with closed fists in the head and face, causing painful symptoms and injuries,” the suit states.
West St. Mary’s head coach Newsome and assistant coach Bashay are named in the lawsuit filed in 16th Judicial District Court.
The lawsuit states Leger ejected Bashay after he “became enraged and began to curse, scream, and verbally abuse” Leger. Newsome then allegedly told Leger he did not know Bashay’s name and “refused to direct Bashay to leave the field.” The suit adds that the actions of Bashay and Newsome “continued to inflame the West St. Mary High School football players.”
The filing also states that the pair of coaches “made no effort whatsoever to restrain the West St. Mary High School football players or prevent the members of the football team from assaulting and battering (Leger) and in refusing to do so encouraged and approved the assault.”
Upon being asked about the disciplinary actions taken against the two students and two employees, Aguillard said in an email, “The school district does not disclose outcomes of student or employee disciplinary matters. Please be assured that the matter has been thoroughly investigated.”
The students, 15- and 16-year-old Baldwin residents whose names are included in the lawsuit but not being released by The Daily Review due to their ages, were charged on Nov. 8 with battery of a school or recreational athletic official. Both were released to their guardians.