District champs suspended from playoffs because of recruiting violation

BRUSLY – As many prep baseball teams in the area began their quests for a state championship in the first round of the playoffs this week, one noticeable omission from the playoff bracket is a team that posted a 20-9 record and won its district championship.

Despite the record and finishing as the No. 4 team in the Division II non-select classification in the final LHSAA power ratings, Brusly High is prohibited from participating in the playoffs.

Brusly coach Mike Forbes was issued a suspension for one calendar year in March for an alleged recruiting violation and as a result, the team was prohibited from playoff participation for one year.

The parent of a player who was recruited spoke out about what happened. The child played at Brusly before transferring. The parent said the reason for the transfer was due to hardship with the parent battling cancer and undergoing treatment.

According to the parent, the boy was recruited to Brusly from St. John in Plaquemine as he was entering the ninth grade.

The parent explained that they thought everything went well after the transfer, however, things changed when baseball season came around. The LHSAA sent a notice that they wanted to investigate.

“They (LHSAA) came to the house in Plaquemine, then they wanted to see where we were living in Addis,” the parent recalled. “When the lady came out to the location in Plaquemine to check everything, she saw he was living there. She saw I was living there. We went to the location in Addis where I’m currently renting and she saw we didn’t have anything there.”

The parent said two days after the visit, they got the ruling back from the LHSAA that the teen was ineligible, which came as a shock.

“Before all this (visit and ruling), we sat down and we went through an interview and she just asked questions,” the parent said. “I gave my statement as to his reasoning to transfer. Then she called him (the boy) in and asked him, ‘Why?’ and he gave the same reason. I gave her messages where (Coach Mike) Forbes left a message on my voicemail stating that he wanted my son to come and play and if it was anything we needed to reach out, and he was glad to have my son. I didn’t have anything to do with that (Forbes suspension). I didn’t know that part of it was going to happen. If my kid could’ve played, we would’ve all been happy.”

The parent said this season was the first time the teen was unable to play baseball since he was about four years old. It took a toll on him.

Brusly High confirmed Forbes’ suspension in a statement to the media. Brusly Principal Walt Lemoine said the school received an email from the LHSAA on March 17th laying out the sanctions. They informed the players of the sanctions on March 20.

The sanctions were as follows

  • The baseball program was placed on restrictive probation for the 23 season and administrative probation for the 24 season.
  •  Brusly High was fined $5,000
  •  Forbes is suspended for one calendar year from coaching any LHSAA sport

According to the LHSAA handbook, administrative probation serves as a warning that during that period of time, any additional violations that occur will result in the school being placed on disciplinary, restrictive, or suspension probation.

Restrictive probation is when a school is fined and restricted in some way during one calendar year, including being ruled ineligible to participate in postseason play.

Lemoine said they felt the restrictive probation was excessive. Brusly appealed the probation at an LHSAA executive committee meeting in early April but it was denied.

Lemoine said the team participated in its district tournament and claimed the District 6-4A title with a win over West Feliciana on April 14.

“We won that game and our players were able to celebrate that victory even though it would be their last game of the season,” he wrote.

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