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Catholic High to lose state titles amid LHSAA inquiry

1 month 1 week 6 days ago Monday, June 21 2021 Jun 21, 2021 June 21, 2021 1:40 PM June 21, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Catholic High School will lose two state titles and two runner-up titles amid an LHSAA investigation into its football program.

The school released a statement to media outlets Monday after spending the weekend trying to downplay the athletic organization's inquiry and punishment.

Catholic High said Monday, it learned in March 2021 of an LHSAA investigation regarding "alleged violations" involving the football program.  The violations occurred in 2017, the school said.

The two-month investigation ended in May with the school losing its state titles from 2017 and 2020 and 2018 and 2019 state runner-up titles.  

In a statement Monday afternoon, Ben DiPalma, the school's athletic director, said Catholic High "will not comment further."

DiPalma added, "as this matter is now closed, CHS looks forward to moving on to the 2021 Football Season and post season under new head coach, David Simoneaux." 

The school said there is an agreement to keep certain aspects confidential: Catholic High "respects the confidentiality policy between the LHSAA and member schools," DiPalma said about why there would not be additional information released. 

Earlier, the head of the LHSAA sent a terse text message Monday morning: “Any/all information surrounding this situation will come from [Catholic High],” Eddie Bonine said.  He would not elaborate much but added “there is not any LHSAA sanctions that include post season ban(s) or student athletes” ability to play for Catholic High.

Former Catholic coach Gabe Fertitta resigned in February for a gig with the the University of Louisville.  The titles revoked from Catholic High were won under Fertitta as coach.

Simoneaux was announced as the team's new coach in March, having spent the last six seasons at Catholic Pointe Coupee.  

Catholic has also made changes to its athletic department this year by moving DiPalma to Athletic Director and J.P. Kelly into another position.

Read the full Catholic High statement related to the LHSAA title revocation below: 

“In March of 2021, the LHSAA informed Catholic High School that it was under investigation regarding alleged violations within the school’s football program that potentially occurred in 2017. Catholic High School administrators worked diligently with the LHSAA to aid them in their investigation in whatever way possible.” DiPalma said. “The investigation concluded in May of 2021. It was determined that Catholic High School’s 2017 and 2020 State Titles, and the 2018 and 2019 State Runner-up titles would be revoked.”

DiPalma continued, “CHS respects the confidentiality policy between the LHSAA and member schools, and will not comment further. As this matter is now closed, CHS looks forward to moving on to the 2021 Football Season and post season under new head coach, David Simoneaux.”

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