The Bossier Press-Tribune interviewed Parkway coach David Feaster this afternoon regarding the LHSAA’s ruling today that declared a freshman football player ineligible. That ruling could force Parkway to forfeit five wins and be ineligible for the playoffs. Here are some excerpts from that interview. Parkway received the ruling from new interim LHSAA executive director Jimmy Anderson. The player in question lived in Shreveport last year and attended Walnut Hill Middle School. Feaster said his father decided to move to South Bossier over the summer.
“We found out today that the administration at the LHSAA ruled against us. And what he said was, he said, ‘Coach, we had a lot of questions about this but basically we just decided to go ahead and rule him ineligible knowing that you would appeal. We think you have a good chance in the appeal.
“(Parkway) principal Dr. Nichole Bourgeois and I talked to Jimmy Anderson, who is the new interim Executive Director of the LHSAA. We talked for about 30 minutes and basically tried to find out what the questions were that they had, what they felt the violations were. We tried to answer them to him. Of course he said over the phone, ‘I can’t change this now, but he said I certainly think you’ll have a case when you appeal it.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to tell the Executive Committee, don’t be afraid to overrule me if you think you need to, because,’ he said, ‘coach, I just tried to go by the letter of the law and there’s a couple of thing’s in here.’ ”
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF RECRUITING AND MOVING FOR ELIGIBILITY PURPOSES
“OK, the things he said that were very important were, there’s no allegations of recruiting. They never felt like the kid got recruited. There is no indication he moved for eligibility purposes. That’s one of the main things they always look for in the (LHSAA) handbook, you know, did the kid move over here just to get eligible? And of course, we were saying the whole time, ‘He’s a freshman, he didn’t move to get eligible, he had no intention of playing any varsity football at all this year.’ Last year at Walnut Hill he didn’t even play quarterback over there. He moved over here and we needed an extra quarterback and I put him on the sidelines and it just so happened we got way ahead of people five weeks in a row and we put him in the game. I think he will be a good quarterback for the future, but he certainly didn’t move for eligibility purposes.”
ON DUAL RESIDENCY, WHICH THE RULING IS BASED ON
“The third thing was, they don’t feel like there was a dual residency. That was one of the issues they were looking hard at. ‘They still own this house, they still own this property back in Shreveport over here. So is there a dual residence?’ Of course, in the LHSAA when you move to a certain area, you can’t move just to try to get yourself eligible if you still really have a house someplace else that’s your real residence. The house they’re talking about and went and looked at basically was deemed unlivable. I think the lady that did the investigation, Mrs. Inke, said it was uninhabitable. OK. So that house is not an option. The commissioner (Anderson) basically agreed with that.
“So with those main things out of the way, then he looks in the handbook and then he says, but he (the player’s father) never changed his address on his driver’s license. He never changed his driver’s license with the post office. And we’re saying, they still own this place over there (in South Bossier). So, and then they said, they feel like it’s a temporary — the rules they’re talking about in the handbook they say we violated were written for when somebody transfers in who’s trying to fool the LHSAA and pretending to live someplace, and the rule says you have to make a permanent change of address. Well, the LHSAA is using this guideline saying he didn’t make a permanent change. The boy sleeps on the bed, the dad sleeps on the couch, where these people are letting them stay rent free, but it’s a not a great residence. For them, we’re saying that’s as permanent as they can afford to get right now. They had been living with their grandparents the last couple of years; they had been living with family in a temporary situation so to speak.
“And the dad is doing the best he can. They’re trying to fix up that old house to get it ready to sell so they’ll have enough money to buy something. But in the meantime, and of course, what we say… Here’s what I do when freshmen move in, here’s the thing, if it’s not a freshman, if it’s an upperclassmen moving in, we’d fill out a concurrence form, the sending principal gets a form, and he gets to ask all these questions: Did the kid move for eligibility purposes? Does he still have a house over here? Did you kick him off the team? Is there any reason he wouldn’t have been eligible to play at your school this year and so forth? And if there’s any doubt, the LHSAA comes in and investigates before they declare him ineligible, so you don’t have to take the chance to forfeit any ballgames so they’ll declare him ineligible and then you don’t play him.
“They come in a make the ruling. Nothing bad can happen. That’s the way the rules have tended to be. However, the LHSAA does not like to make rulings they did today. I guarantee you. They don’t like to punish a whole town because somebody didn’t change their driver’s license address, especially when he’s a freshman who’s not here to play he just gets put in the game so we don’t run up the score on people. The LHSAA does not like to make rules like that.
“That’s why they don’t put the concurrence in. For freshman, there is no concurrence, there’s nobody to ask all those questions to and it usually never comes because if you didn’t recruit him and if he didn’t come here for eligibility purposes and if he doesn’t have a dual residence, you never ask a kid, ‘Did you dad change his address on the driver’s license?’ So it’s a little bit ludicrous to people who don’t understand LHSAA rules. Those of us who do understand it, it’s still kind of borderline ludicrous, but I still understand why it’s there. Those rules are in there to keep people from cheating. So what happens is, when a kid comes in that’s not trying to cheat the system. His dad’s not trying to cheat the system. All of a sudden somebody turns us in and tries to play gotcha and now we’re in the situation where it doesn’t look like it’s a permanent move and by the letter of the law, this guy’s saying, then the kid should have been ineligible and they have to cancel our season basically.
“We turned in pay stubs. His address on his pay stub was Shreveport back in April and early and then at the end of may, and then back in June, July, August and September all his pay stubs reflected his address here in Bossier City in South Bossier. The dad has done everything that you could normally expect the guy to do. The address he provided the school, the address he provided his work, the address he provided the doctors when the kid was taken to the doctor the other day. The kid was living here. It’s kind of technicality you might say and that’s why we have a chance at appeal.
ON WHERE THE PLAYER WOULD HAVE GONE TO SCHOOL IN CADDO PARISH
“We were told today he had applied at Southwood. In Caddo Parish he’d applied to go to Southwood’s magnet school, and that was maybe in December. Sometimes in the spring (the player’s father decided) that they were going to move to South Bossier with friends of his dad’s and that he was going to come to Parkway.
“The implications right now are we have to forfeit all five of those games and so no matter what happens the next two games no way we make the playoffs. There’s going to be a hearing on Wednesday that we’ll actually be able to go to. We actually get to state our side of the case. Up until today nobody’s even talked to me. It’s kind of funny the way they do. But this is the way the LHSAA has typically done it in previous administrations. They go get kind of one side of the story and they say, hey, you can always appeal. And that’s the situation we’re in.”