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High school coaches suspended for watching unauthorized film on Hudl

Update from Scott> 

Since we originally released this article around noon today, I have heard from a number of high school and college coaches about this issue and have spoken with an executive at Hudl as well who has direct knowledge of the facts here. 

First, I want to ensure that something is clear, Hudl's software was not compromised in any way.  As I understand it, South Lafourche's account was accessed using a username / password combination of a former player (who is now on Destrehan's roster).  The player and coaches at Destrehan are the ones in the wrong here; but it should be pointed out that had the South Lafourche staff appropriately deactivated his permissions in Hudl when he left the team then this would not have been possible. As I understand it, South Lafourche coaches noticed the unauthorized access by noticing that one of their accounts had watched a very large amount of film that week. When they looked into which player's account it was that's how they identified the issue and promptly notified the LHSAA. This is a good monitoring safeguard that Hudl has in place; but again, coaches a lesson to take away from this is to ensure that every so often (and at the very least once a year) you should review and adjust who has access to which film. 

Second, most of the coaches who have reached out to me are fairly surprised at how light the punishment is for the coaches who took this action. Destrehan, who is now 7-1 and assured of a playoff spot, has 8 days left in their regular season. During that time, the assistants won't be able to coach. For the playoffs they will have to coach from the box.???  That part not only is odd, it just doesn't make any sense at all. I see the quote from the commissioner of the LHSAA that this "is the first time" they've had to deal "with something like this"; but is it really? Isn't this fairly similar to spying on the other team's practice. Seems like there would be precedent here; and it definitely seems like there would be more serious consequences than 8 days of leave followed by coaching from the box. 

Original Article> 

Five coaches at Destrehan HS (LA) have been suspended for the rest of the season by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for apparently getting access to South Lafourche high school's (LA) password-protected practice film.

As Nola.com points out, four of the coaches (including both coordinators) will serve their regular season suspension and then only be able to coach from the press box once the playoffs begin. They will also be required to attend classes and the school will pay a $1,000 fine.

While coaches swap game film every week, the practice film was password protected and used only by the South Lafourche players and coaching staff. The extra advantage helped Destrehan beat South Lafourche on the field last week (49-24), but the program will obviously be forced to forfeit the win because of the violation.

"This is the first time we've dealt with something like this," LHSAA executive director Kenny Henderson noted on the situation. "We want to make sure people know there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything. It was unfair advantage that was gained and that goes back to fair play. I have to credit the school (South Lafourche) for working hard to help us in this whole matter. Each school has to got to make its own decisions with the safety of their technology."

In a profession like ours, this is absolutely unacceptable. How can we be expected to teach kids with very impressionable minds the finer points of life, when guys like this are out there willing to cutting corners?

As coaches, we're entrusted with the important role (and duty) to teach life lessons through this great game. Let this serve as a reminder to stay focused on that mission, and to always do what is right and continue to be a positive role model even, especially the toughest of times.

Read more on the disappointing situation here.

Author: Doug Samuels
Doug Samuels has been with FootballScoop since 2011. Samuels joined the FootballScoop staff after serving as a college scout as well as an assistant coach at the college level, where he was fortunate enough to have coached every offensive position by age 24. Samuels is a lifelong Michigan State fan, no huddle enthusiast, and currently coaches high school football in West Michigan.