Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Parkway's Appeal Denied By LHSAA Executive Committee In Unanimous Vote

Despite the possibility of posting an 8-2 record in games played this year, the Parkway Panthers season will come to an end Friday night at Airline High School.  The 2013 Class 5A runner-up will not get a chance to make a return trip to the Superdome, even though they have proven to be one of the top teams in the state when the stadium lights are fired up.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association's Executive Committee voted unanimously (with Airline Principal Jason Rowland, Richard Lavergne of St. Thomas More, Ouachita Principal Todd Guice and Arcadia Principal Jeff Sampson abstaining. Airline is considered a sister school of Parkway) Thursday afternoon to uphold an earlier ruling that Parkway had used an ineligible player in five games this season, forcing the Panthers to forfeit all five games.  A new rule enacted by the LHSAA makes a school that forfeits one-third or more of their games ineligible for post-season play... thus... it's the end of the line for Parkway's seniors.

Despite an impassioned plea before the Executive Committee of the LHSAA by Parkway head coach David Feaster and an appeal from Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent D.C. Machen, the committee quickly dispensed the Panthers to the *asterisk pile for the 2014 season.   The Panthers record will eventually be either *3-7 or *2-8 depending on the outcome of the Airline game, with the asterisk explained: "Parkway forfeited 5 games during the season for using an ineligible player."

The Executive Committee members were operating from a 50-plus page report documenting the case.  Parkway, we are told, "never could get a copy" of the report.

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Parkway has at its disposal a Hail Mary of sorts.  The school could possibly file an injunction and ask the appeal be heard by a third-party arbitrator.  Our source indicated this avenue would cost "some serious cash," and there is no guarantee it would benefit the school, at least before the playoffs begin on November 14th.

The LHSAA Executive Committee Members include  (part of state):
Class 5A Representatives:
Bruce Bundy, Mandeville High School (south)
Jason Rowland, Airline High School (Abstained, sister school of Parkway)

Class 4A Representatives:
Mickey Merritt, West Ouachtia High School (northeast)
Niles Riche, Assumption High School (south)

Class 3A Representatives:
Mike Oakley, Iowa High School (south)
Walt Lemoine, Brusly High School (south)

Class 2A Representatives:
Tommy Hodges, Doyle High School (south)
Hub Jordan, Pickering High School (central)

Class 1A Representatives:
Connie Williams, Mangham High School (northeast)
Vic Bonnaffee, Central Catholic High School (south)

Class B (non-football classification) Representatives:
Rickey Durrett, Simsboro High School (north)
Reinette Guillory, Bell City High School (south)

Class C (non-football classification) Representatives:
Darrin Dyess, Ebarb High School (south)
Keith Morgan, Elizabeth High School (south)

At-Large Reprsentatives:
Jeff Sampson, Arcadia High School (Abstained) (north)
Sharon Clark, Sophie B. Wright Charter School (south)
Richard Lavergne, St. Thomas More (Abstained) (south)
Jane Griffin, Winnfield High School (north)

Past President:
Todd Guice, Ouachita Parish High School (Abstained) (northeast)

LHSADA Representative:
Willie Wise, St. Charles Parish School System (south)

LHSCA Representative:
Randy Johnson, Ascension Episcopal High School (south)
Sam Messina, Loranger High School (south)

School Board Representative:
Darrin Manuel, Beauregard Parish School Board (south)

Superintendent Association Representative:
Darrell Fairburn, Washington Parish School System (south)

Department of Education Representative:
Dana Peterson, Dept. of Edcuation-Recovery School District (south)

Notice anything in particular about the non-abstaining members of the Executive Committee? The bulk of the 25 (17) call south Louisiana home.  Only a handful of representatives share an area code with Parkway.  Did Parkway get a fair shake in their appeal, or did the committee have their minds made up before the Bossier Parish contingent darkened the door?

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What did the committee stand to gain by granting Parkway's appeal? Why were there members of non-football classifications voting in the first place?

A lot of questions unanswered... but the biggie, "Could Parkway have returned to the Superdome for the State Championship this season?" has an answer.

Yes. If they buy a ticket.

And that's a damn shame.