Eleanor McMain, a charter high school in uptown New Orleans, will not be allowed to field a football team next school year, according to a recent LHSAA ruling that impacts the Mustangs' entire athletic department. The school's title-contending boys basketball program will also be ineligible for the playoffs.
McMain athletic director Brandon Walters said the LHSAA ruled in March that the school could not field a football team or a boys soccer team for the 2023-24 school year.
Furthermore, the entire athletic department has been placed under restrictive probation, leaving all other athletic teams — including a basketball team that won a state title in 2021 — ineligible for the playoffs.
Walters declined to say why the LHSAA made its ruling. McMain had nine football games over the past two seasons recorded as forfeit losses, according to the LHSAA website. Player eligibility rulings are a common reason for forfeitures.
Several local prep football teams have unexpected openings in their schedules after McMain canceled its 2023 season and the Jefferson Parish S…
"I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds with this," said Walters, who was not employed by the school when the findings that led to the ruling occurred. "(The LHSAA) said kids played illegally. Some kids that weren’t registered properly."
Hired by the school in January to coach football, Walters became the athletic director in March. Previous athletic director Darren Riley coached the final five games of an 0-10 season last year after former coach Shan Williams stepped down. The three forfeitures last season covered the first three games with Riley as coach.
As a private organization, the LHSAA does not typically provide documentation or issue public statements regarding rulings.
Walters planned to have up to 16 seniors on his roster this season, including one student who transferred from outside the parish before his junior season and waited a full year to get eligible. Instead, remaining McMain football players gather daily at the school for workouts.
"We’re still training and lifting and conditioning through the afternoon," said Walters, who previously coached at West St. John and won a state championship in 2017. "We’re preparing for when it’s our time to play ball."
After the LHSAA ruling, some families chose to enroll their children at other schools, where athletic eligibility might not be determined until after a hardship hearing in front of six LHSAA executive committee members. Hardship hearings before the fall sports seasons last year occurred in August.
The 10 schools on the McMain football schedule were left looking for replacement games after the ruling. De La Salle replaced McMain in Week 9 with a game against St. Augustine, which had an open date that week last season.