‘Leak’ advances narrative that private schools cheat

Over the years, there have been hundreds (I guess) of investigations the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for rules violations.

I say “I guess” because the news media never knew for sure. Such inquiries were usually kept quiet as they proceeded. Some involved violations, some did not.

When a violation was deemed to have occurred, the protocol was the school was notified, and 24 hours later, it was released to the news media.

The rationale was this: What if an investigation was announced, and later, no allegations were found to be true? You would have presumed guilt before innocence.

Recently, a member of the New Orleans Catholic League and its head coach were the subject of a news report that cited a source saying an investigation into the school’s football program was underway. 

Who knows if the allegations are true or not? And, who knows who leaked the information to the reporter who penned the story?

The school has reacted very negatively to the report, and it should. Its reputation as a quality organization is being challenged, and not yet by facts. Same for the head coach. His reputation has been besmirched, despite the fact that only an inquiry has reportedly occurred.

If facts are proven to be what they are, then the school, any school, should be held accountable, but not until then.

This moment should be a teaching one. The lesson is this: One of your Catholic League schools has faced such rumor and innuendo for years. This school has won multiple state championships in many sports over decades, and has been called many things, including by schools in its own districts.

Whenever this school wins a football championship, I hear about it from other coaches, reporters and fans.

Of course, none of them have then the courage to say so publicly. They prefer to tell me because, after all, I do a television show with the head coach and, of course, because of that, I must be an ardent supporter of that school.

The coach and I have had a deal all these years. He runs his school; I run the TV show. It has seemed to have worked well for 27 years. But who needs facts when rumors and innuendo will do just fine.

There’s a bigger picture here. This is all about the narrative that private schools win thanks to illegal recruiting, period.

That’s what this “leak” is all about. It is about advancing the narrative that behind the success of every private school, in any sport, there just has to be impropriety.

So, I guess this “investigation” continues. Who knows where it leads?

I would ask, in the current climate in the LHSAA, how can any private school feel it will get a fair shake? It is a legitimate question.

In the meantime, rumor and innuendo flourish unabated.

I guess in the absence of a concluded investigation and a response from the school involved, a premature character assassination of the school and its head coach will be sufficient.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarion herald.org.

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