LHSAA hands down penalties to Destrehan

The Destrehan High School football team lost its first game of the season Wednesday.

It also lost five assistant coaches for the rest of the regular season.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association ruled on Wednesday that Destrehan would have to forfeit Friday’s 49-24 victory over South Lafourche.

It was one of several stiff penalties the LHSAA gave Destrehan after discovering assistant coaches used computers to spy on South Lafourche’s football practices last week.

The coaches used Hudl, a video application that allows teams to study themselves and scout opponents.

“It’s a film-sharing program, and they were on a part that they weren’t supposed to be on,” said LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson.

Assistant coaches Ryan Fournier, Lance Ledet, Daniel Luquet, Wayne Sentillis and Greg Boyne aren’t allowed to attend the remaining two games of the regular season.

Fournier can’t attend any games for the rest of the regular season or the playoffs. Destrehan has two regular-season games left. The Wildcats play H.L. Bourgeois on Friday and East St. John next week. The other four coaches can return for the playoffs but will only be allowed to coach from the press box.

The penalties specifically stated “Ryan Fournier and his wife” can’t attend any games. Officials would not give her name.

Henderson wouldn’t say what her role was in the incident that involved coaches obtaining passwords and then watching video of South Lafourche’s practices.

Officials and coaches at Destrehan couldn’t be reached for comment.

“It was tough from a standpoint that we had never had an issue like this before,” Henderson said. “I have to give credit to the administration of Destrehan for getting actively involved. Someone asked me ‘how did we prove this?’ We didn’t prove it. The schools proved it and gave us what they found and we definitely appreciate that they took action and did what they thought was right.”

The sanctions violated Rule 6.27.1 and rule 5.11.12 of the LHSAA handbook.

The first rule states: “Member schools shall be prohibited from filming, videotaping, or duplicating in any manner, the athletic contests of other member schools without the express written consent of the principals or head coaches of the two schools involved. A violation shall result if a school representative videotapes or films a contest or solicits the services of a non-school representative to videotape or film a game for a school.”

The second violation deals with sportsmanship and wholesome competition.

“We are very satisfied with the ruling,” South Lafourche Principal Gaye Cheramie said. “We think it is a very fair ruling for the players and coaching staffs at South Lafourche and Destrehan. I’m really pleased with how quickly the LHSAA investigated the matter and came down with a ruling. We had great cooperation from the St. Charles Parish School System and the principal.”

South Lafourche brought the allegations to the LHSAA on Monday morning.

Destrehan was also fined $1,000.

The five coaches are also on probation until Oct. 29.

“That basically means they can’t mess up again,” Henderson said.

Destrehan, which was 8-0 overall and ranked No. 3 in The New Orleans Advocate’s large school rankings and ranked No. 5 in the LSWA Class 5A poll, is now 7-1 and 4-1 in District 7-5A. The team is the No. 1-seeded team in Class 5A, according to the LHSAA’s latest power rankings,

Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux couldn’t be reached for comment, but he released a statement, emailed by Stevie Crovetto, director of public information for St. Charles Parish Public Schools.

“I am disappointed that this happened, and I respect the LHSAA’s decision,” the statement said. “My concern is about our kids in this unfortunate situation. My focus is to address the needs of our players and move on from this.”

Destrehan Principal Stephen Weber also released a statement.

“Destrehan High School respects and accepts the decision placed upon its football program by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association,” Weber said.

“These actions by certain assistant coaches are not condoned or reflective of the school and its athletic program. Poor judgment was used on the part of those involved and unfortunately, the student-athletes are impacted most by this situation.”

South Lafourche, which is awarded a 2-0 victory for the forfeit, is now 5-3 overall and 4-1 in district play. South Lafourche plays Thibodaux on Thursday.