In September we wrote an “Why we coach high school football“.
That article was inspired by the real life story that had transpired at John Curtis High School in New Orleans, LA. John Curtis is a powerhouse in football; but this article wasn’t truly about football, it was about doing the right thing in life.
The backstory is, like all of ours, a bit long to digest; but in short, as a high school sophomore Willie Allen’s home life was extremely challenging & was not helping him excel in life. Willie’s mother approached one of the assistant football coaches asking for help and they graciously took him in…and made him part of their family; well truthfully the families bonded.
The story is all that is right in the world. The young man began to thrive. This was headed for a happy ending…
Scratch that record to a grinding halt… After reportedly being tipped to an old rule on the books by someone with an axe to grind against John Curtis, the LHSAA ruled that the school had broken a rule prohibiting recruiting players. On August 31st, the LHSAA denied John Curtis’ appeal of the ruling. As a result, the LHSAA is going to “strip” John Curtis of approximately 20 wins, which might include their 2013 state championship, the school will have to pay a fine and an assistant coach will have to attend an additional class.
At the time of this ruling I wrote:
I’ll leave you with this final thought. If the coaches at John Curtis, or any other school, were to see a player in the exact same circumstances today and wanted to help as Coach Godfrey did by opening their home to the player, I’m 100 percent positive that they would do the same thing over again, even knowing the cost. Especially knowing the cost. Young men’s lives matter more than wins, even if the wins shouldn’t be taken away in the first place. That’s why we all do this. That is why we coach. — I say good for you Coach Godfrey, and good for you John Curtis Christian School.
Well, fast forward to today. Word is out that John Curtis is suing the LHSAA. From WGNO.com:
John Curtis Christian School is suing the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for defamation and damages in the case regarding former offensive tackle Willie Allen.
The school says in its lawsuit that the LHSAA failed to disclose an internal investigation which found no evidence to prove any violation of LHSAA rules or regulations.
The suit was filed in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Allen was ruled ineligible by the LHSAA, a ruling that was upheld on appeal by the LHSAA’s executive committee on August 31st, 2016.
John Curtis is also suing to get the 20 football wins that it forfeited in the case, including a 32-0 win over University in the 2013 Division II state championship game.
Read that bolded part again. So, allegedly, the LHSAA had no evidence that John Curtis had broken any rule and yet they still moved forward with the case against them. C’mon man.
The LHSAA commissioner should have taken executive action at the time to do the right thing here and he should do it now by restoring the wins & clearing Curtis of any wrongdoing. Having this matter go to trial would bring nothing good for the LHSAA.