A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
How Hurricane Katrina And The LHSHAA Claimed A State Title And Robbed Kids Of A Lifetime Of Memories
SAN ANTONIO — It seems that Hurricane Katrina is deciding to make her one year anniversary a real bell ringer this week and her latest victim happens to be the Bastrop, Louisiana Rams and that community.
When Katrina hit last year, thousands of people were displaced by that storm and many of them showed up in Bastrop. Undoubtedly there were high school kids who came to that community and many of them were football players.
And so the community and the school did what is natural behavior in such a crisis; they reached out and helped by getting these kids in to school and then allowing them to play in sports.
Now I don’t think anyone has a problem with that assessment of the situation. And I don’t think anyone would be protesting, right? Well not only has there been a protest but because the school has won its first football title since 1927, somebody complained and the LHSAA has stripped the school and effectively the kids for supposedly cheating.
According to several reports, the Bastrop team had two players who were Katrina evacuees and had transferred. This week the runner up school Breaux Bridge will be named the state’s 4A champs and a community that reached out a helping hand will now have that hand chopped off.
What the LHSAA is doing to this school is just flat out wrong. Breaux Bridge doesn’t deserve to be named the 4A champ in that state. As a matter of fact I’m willing to wager that somebody from that particular school started this whole investigation against Bastrop.
Just so that you understand the seriousness of why those two kids played at Bastrop. Port Sulphur. Louisiana was wiped out by the storm. The town of Bastrop took those two kids, their families and countless others in.
So did communities all across northern Louisiana. If Bastrop is going to be punished for doing something good, then the LHSAA needs to look at every school and see who was eligible and who wasn’t.
This smells of the same old swamp water politics that Louisiana has been known for. It’s really sad that a bunch of politicians at a school board would rather punish a school for doing something good rather than find out some real issues.
Those kids weren’t recruited by anyone from Bastrop and the LHSAA members know it. This is definitely a travesty of justice on a town that deserves a medal for helping those in need; not sanctions.
But then again what do you expect from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
MAYO HEADED HOME, NORTH COLLEGE HILLS IN A LURCH I’m not going to say I was surprised by the news but I can’t be shocked either. High school phenom O.J. Mayo has transferred from Cincinnati’s North College Hills and is said to be headed to West Virginia.
“It’s exciting to go home, but it’s sad leaving North College Hill. I consider Cincinnati a second home,” Mayo is quoted saying in a piece found at www.usatoday.com’s high school sports section.
Yet what Mayo doesn’t explain is why he is truly going to Huntington (W. Va.), one of the top power houses in pre-season rankings. My only guess? Without childhood friend and high flying back court mate Bill Walker at NCH, Mayo may have felt that he had a better chance with better talent around him.
It may not seem like nothing to many fans but this move actually irks me the more I read his story. This is Mayo’s third school in four years of high school. Military kids don’t move this much. From Ashland, Ky., Mayo came to the Queen City and took NCH by storm.
With Walker in the back court, the school saw two state titles unfold. And before anyone starts sending the usual e-mails, let me throw this at you. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in April that Mayo was considering jumping this year from NCH and he was playing for the Miami Tropics, an AAU squad that has Bob Huggins ties. In that paper’s story, Oak Hills Academy was the school of choice.
But this goes further than a kid jumping to another school. As sure as I am standing in line for a four way and two chili cheese coneys at Skyline Chili on Kemper Meadow Drive in my old stomping grounds of Forest Park, North College Hill has been nothing more than a basketball whore to Mayo and his clan.
Lets seriously think about this for a moment. Here is Mr. Ohio Basketball leaving a school that gave him a stage presence. Sure he gave the school back two state titles. Well hell my alma mater, Roger Bacon, has a state basketball title but I don’t remember the school playing the likes of Oak Hills Academy on their schedule.
Sure I may have seen them play Anderson Township, Indian Hills or Oak Hills but all of those schools are in the greater Cincinnati area. Mayo is going to be allowed to transfer to another school and two state high school governing bodies is going to let this happen with no muss and no fuss.
Now if anyone isn’t upset about this, then so be it. I just think it is really strange that sports writers get all the hate mail when we rake players over the coals but if it’s a high school kid, oh he’s as sacred as the golden goose. Well guess what Trojan fans, you guys are now up in a lurch and that golden goose is gone this basketball season.
No more ESPN, no more top ranked schools on your future schedules and no more claim to fame of having the best basketball player that college and pro scouts say is a tenth wonder on the court. North College Hill has been hosed by Sir Lancelot and evidently the only people who are getting the benefits are the new coach for Mayo, his entourage and maybe a future college coach who gets him for one year.
If this is what has become of high school sports, then we are in some seriously dire straits. Myles Brand wants to help these kids get prepared for college and it just seems that the talented players don’t give a rat’s ass about their educational futures. As long as that brown orangish ball is going through the nylons, all is well in the world.
Well it’s not.
Soon there will be another O.J. Mayo who uses another school to further his basketball education and that school will go back into the doldrums of being mediocre to above average. How many schools are going to go through this spin cycle and when will high school governing bodies put an end to the school factories like Oak Hills Academy and Huntington?
I thought residency meant something in these sports? If a Louisiana high school football team can get stripped because it did a good deed to two evacuees, how come no one is questioning Mayo’s moves and residency to West Virginia?
I just think it’s awefully strange that he will be playing in January, the height of his team’s schedule and the push for a state title; his third in four years but with two different teams.
Just food for thought folks. And now back to my cheese coneys and four way entrée. Somebody pass me the oyster crackers and the Tabasco sauce.