RIVER RIDGE — John Curtis Christian
High School recently filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana High
School Athletic Association to try to get 20 wins and the 2013 state
title back to its football program.
According to a report
by the New Orleans Advocate, the LHSAA decided to take the wins and
the state championship from John Curtis Christian because it ruled
that the school had to forfeit games that former offensive lineman
Willie Allen played in because Allen lived with an assistant football
coach. The school filed suit on Jan. 30 in the 19th
District Court in Baton Rouge.
"You don't know how all the
general public feels, but the people that I have talked to, that I
have had the opportunity to be with, have thought that the concept,
in and of itself, was really unfair," J.T. Curtis, the head
football coach at John Curtis Christian, told the Louisiana
Record. "Certainly, it did give you a negative impact in
terms of the publicity that was negative, but I think the people that
I have been able to associate myself with felt like that it was not
Curtis said Allen was in school at JCC for
about a year and a half before his family began experiencing
"Willie had to change locations where he
was living and his transportation, and he was basically catching the
public-service bus to his workouts and to school on a daily basis,"
Curtis said. "When you depend on public-service buses, sometimes
they're not always on time, and so he would be late coming in, and
his coach would get on him about being late. Finally, one day they
got to realize that it was just a distraction because of the
transportation issue, that he was having to catch basically three
buses to get to school."
Curtis said that when practice
started, Assistant Coach Jerry Godfrey offered Allen the chance to
stay with his family during the team's stretch of two practices a
"And from there, they developed a very close
relationship that still exists today," Curtis said. "And
Willie stayed with them through the next 2½ years and really has
become part of the Godfrey family, to be very honest with you. And
Jerry and his family and his wife and children feel as though Willie
is part of their family and in his first year at LSU, have been with
him the entire time."
The New Orleans Advocate reported
that LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine named 11 league rules that
LHSAA Compliance and Investigative Officer Joe Kleinpeter allegedly
discovered that JCC violated when Kleinpeter did an internal
Curtis said the league's decision came
because it felt that the program used Allen living with Godfrey to
try to keep him at JCC.
"That is the word that they hung
their decision on, retain a student in school," Curtis said.
"And our position was and always had been from the very
beginning, because it was publicly known. It was not anything that
was private, that we tried to hide or that we tried to skirt under
the rule. We didn't really understand that that word retain would
apply to a student who was already a member of your student body and
who had already committed to be in school with you."
said Allen's family wished for Allen to be at JCC. Curtis added that
Allen living with Godfrey was not done for Allen to stay at the
"We took the position that that was not true,"
Curtis said. "Willie testified it was not true, and his sister,
who was the spokesperson for the family, testified that that was
According to Curtis, Allen's sister said no matter
how the family had to make it work, Allen was going to keep going to
school at JCC.
The New Orleans Advocate also reported
that the LHSAA executive committee voted 16-1 last fall to keep the
forfeited wins in place in response to JCC's appeal.
thought we were doing something that was humanitarian and that would
be long-term benefit for everybody concerned," Curtis said. "And
we do not feel like that even within those rules, within the LHSAA
rules, we did not violate them."