DHS football coaches suspended amid spying allegations

Criminal investigation underway


October 30, 2013 at 10:24 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Destrehan head football coach Stephen Robicheaux addresses players before a game.
Destrehan head football coach Stephen Robicheaux addresses players before a game.
Members of the Destrehan High School football staff have been suspended after they were accused of hacking into a website containing detailed information on the South Lafourche High School football program prior to last Friday’s game.

An investigation by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) resulted in four coaches being removed from the football program for the remainder of the regular season and one coach for the rest of the year, including the playoffs. In addition, Destrehan must forfeit their win over South Lafourche. 

No Destrehan football players have been accused of any wrongdoing.

South Lafourche High School (SLHS) Principal Gaye Cheramie said local law enforcement agencies are looking into the matter as well.

According to an SLHS press release, the Destrehan coaching staff admitted to using a South Lafourche player’s username and password to access the Tarpons Hudl page. Hudl is used by football teams to store playbooks, practice film and schemes. The Destrehan staff allegedly spent 12 hours on the website before going on to beat South Lafourche 49-24 last week.

Coaches typically swap game film through Hudl, but practice film, which usually shows a team preparing for their upcoming opponent, is password protected.

“It is the understanding of SLHS that several of the coaches of the Destrehan football team have admitted to accessing the account and using the information to game plan against SLHS,” the release stated. “The Lafourche Parish School Board administration and the administration at South Lafourche High School are awaiting a decision from the LHSAA and they are seeking forfeiture of the contest by Destrehan and discipline of the coaches involved in this unfortunate incident.”

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office has also begun an investigation into the matter, which they called a criminal act.

Cheramie said after viewing the game tape it became obvious to the Tarpons coaching staff that Destrehan knew what plays they were going to run before they ran them.

“During the game it seemed unusual. As soon as our quarterback would call a play Destrehan’s defense would start moving, almost before our offense could move. But in the heat of the game you think about it, but you move on,” she said. “When our coaches broke down the game tape Friday and Saturday, it became obvious (Destrehan) knew our game plan and on our Hudl account they have everything, the playbook, the cadence, everything.”

Cheramie refused to say how the school found out that their Hudl account was hacked, but they have evidence to support it. The school then alerted the LHSAA to the alleged infraction.

“South Lafourche High School has reported to the LHSAA a rule violation involving football coaches of Destrehan High School following the game between the schools. The alleged violations involve improper and unauthorized access by certain Destrehan coaches to practice video of the South Lafourche team during the week of practice prior to the game,” the statement said.

SLHS said they felt Destrehan’s actions were wrong for a number of reasons.

“The viewing of the video of SLHS practices, in the view of the administration and coaches of SLHS gave Destrehan an unfair competitive advantage and was a violation of sportsmanship, ethics and fair play, and potentially exposed South Lafourche High School players to an increased risk of injury,” the school said.

St. Charles Parish Public Schools also released a statement saying they launched their own investigation.

“As soon as the concerns were brought to our attention, an internal investigation was conducted. The information gathered from our internal investigation was then sent to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Any actions that jeopardize the integrity of the school system or Destrehan High School will not be tolerated,” Stevie Crovetto, director of public information, said.




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