LPSS says “out-of-zone” athletic recruiting difficult to prove

Posted at 6:05 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 19:05:04-04

More than 2,000 “out-of-zone” students are attending Lafayette Parish School System magnet academies this year, but there’s a concern that some of those students are enrolled because they want to be in a strong sports program.

However, the district only makes room for out-of-zone students pursuing academics and not sports.

In a Gannett Daily Newspaper investigative series, reporters are exploring stories of “out-of-zone” athletic recruiting in public high schools across Acadiana.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association, or LHSAA, says that a student can’t enroll in a school out-of-zone or in a district they do not live in to be a part of a strong sports program.

“You hear the allegation either standing on the sideline of a football or basketball game. At some event you hear the allegation. No official allegation has come across my desk or anything that I’ve had to personally investigate,” said LPSS Chief Administrative Officer Joe Craig.

However, Craig says out-of-zone students can enroll in LPSS magnet academies for the reason of academics only.

“We have little over 2,400 kids who are in magnet acadamies outside of the attendance zone. They apply through the magnet academy applications and lottery process. We don’t track whether they’re doing it for athletics. The belief and the goal would be that they’re doing it for a themed school that parallels their child’s interests,” said Craig.

Acadiana High School Principal David LeJeune says it’s ultimatey up to the coaches and principals of each LPSS school to monitor their athletes and report any suspicion of a student-athlete misrepresenting whey they live.

“If there’s a question of a student transferring into your school or out of your school we make, they make us aware, or we make them aware. You know, we makesure if they’re transferring over there, they’re living in zone. Because we dont want anything to happen to another school, and they don;t want anything to happen to us,” explained LeJeune.

If the rule isn’t followed, an entire team can be suspended from playing games or a whole season.