Amite High sues LHSAA after upholding decision to suspend team from playoffs

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Tangipahoa Parish School System is suing LHSAA after the governing body decided to maintain a ruling that will keep Amite High School out of the Class 3A football playoffs.

The school was kicked out of the Class 3A football semifinals after a bench-clearing fight that ended last Friday night's game against Bogalusa in the quarterfinals. The fight happened in the last two minutes of the game as the Warriors were leading Bogalusa, 56-20.

School leaders attempted to appeal the LHSAA ruling Wednesday morning, but were overturned.

"It's totally unfair for them to be treated that way," said Tanisha Brashear, mother of a freshman player. "They took another helmet and tried to hit him in the head with the helmet."

"Bogalusa was the aggressor. It was not us," said another fan.

Fans said many Amite players stayed back, while others approached the brawl.

LHSAA's rule # 5.11.8 states that, if an individual comes off the bench into the court or the field, "the player(s) shall be suspended and ruled ineligible to participate at any level through the next contest at that level."

That next game would be the upcoming semifinal game.

The LHSAA ruling did not sit well with some fans and former players, who defended the players.

"When you see one person being pummeled to death by four different people, what are they supposed to do? Are they supposed to stand there and hold their hands?" said Brashear.

Chris Moody, a lawyer for the school system, said he believes the LHSAA rushed to judgment.

"The association went to the nuclear option and canceled this playoff," said Moody. "Let's only punish the kids that broke the rules, not the entire team, not the entire school or the entire community."

He said they want a full investigation and they want the team to be able to play on Friday.

"If we get sanctioned so we have to forfeit a game - a regular season game next year - or players have to sit out, that's something we can live. We just felt they made an example of Amite High School and that the remedy is extremely harsh," said Moody.

Tangipahoa's lawsuit is set for a court hearing Friday morning.

If the judge rules against Amite, their opponent, the St. James Wildcats, will automatically advance to next weekend's state championship.

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