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Lakeridge hit with fine, probation by OSAA

After a review, the school receives its punishment following its football season


The Oregon State Activities Association recently handed down its punishments to Lakeridge High School, stemming from incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct throughout last season along with self-reported violations of coaches not being properly certified.

Lakeridge received a $2,500 fine and was place on probation for four years. During this time, Lakeridge will need to report to the OSAA following each season, (fall, winter and spring) to assess whether it is being compliant with the organization's recommendations. Lakeridge must also provide a list of all of its coaches, both paid and volunteer, and determine if they have met certification requirements, which include a NFHS Fundamentals and Coaching Course, NFHS Heat Acclimatization Course, Concussion Training and Steroid Education Training.

“We didn't know what to expect because we've never been in a situation like this. I don't have much difficulty with addressing the issues and we certainly take responsibility for them. The one thing I might question them on is that four years seems a little lengthy,” Lake Oswego school Superintendent Bill Korach said.

Korach said the school accepts the ruling and is committed to fixing the issues that arose in the fall.

“We're not in a position to do anything but work well with the OSAA. We have to make up some ground and make sure our reputation and our sportsmanship is stellar and not suspect,” Korach said.

The punishments and recommendations were issued in a letter by OSAA executive director Tom Welter who also dinged the Pacers for “a significant lack of institutional control with respect to the Lakeridge football program.”

Welter's recommendations include “a complete review of the protocol for hiring coaches with special attention to the coaching philosophy of the coaches and their training and certification.” He also recommended that Lakeridge adopt a code of conduct “for all athletic and activities programs of the school that clearly specifies the conduct expected of athletes, students and supporters of the team.”

The ruling follows a tumultuous season for the football team, culminating with its Nov. 22 playoff loss to Jesuit.

In that game, Lakeridge committed 21 penalties for 229 yards, the bulk of which were for personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in one player being ejected and an environment in which officials didn't deem it safe for both teams to shake hands following the contest.

Following the game, Jesuit submitted a letter to the OSAA alleging sportsmanship violations.

Penalties, particularly of the unsportsmanlike variety, plagued Lakeridge for much of the season, as the Pacers averaged more than 150 yards against them per game.

“Specifically, I find that the numerous and significant personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against Lakeridge players in the Jesuit game, which were not an aberration but which were consistent with the significant number of penalties against Lakeridge players in other contests during the 2013 season, violate the spirit and the letter of Rules 3.3 and 3.4. There actions created unreasonable danger and disorder to the participants of the game and require a response,” Welter said in his letter.

Welter also found that all 14 of the football team's coaches were in violation “of OSAA and Oregon law requirements for coach certifications,” an issue that Lakeridge self-reported.

The on-the-field instances came while in the midst of off-the-field strife as longtime head coach Tom Smythe and his hand-picked offensive coordinator Chad Carlson struggled to settle their differences. Smythe would ultimately step down from the team early in what would be his final season.

Lakeridge saw some of its best results in years, earning a top-three finish in the Three Rivers League and a berth in the state quarterfinals but its reputation became increasingly sullied.

Following the season, Lakeridge did a complete review of the program and, according to Korach, has since made strides in assuring that similar issues don't occur again.

“There is a hyper-awareness right now,” Korach said.

Korach said he was not informed by Welter what punishments would occur if Lakeridge committed other violations during its period of probation.

“I wouldn't want to speculate on what would happen. I'd rather be able to say that this simply won't happen again and it won't be an issue,” Korach said.




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