Seven players were recently kicked off of the Salmen High School’s girls basketball team in Slidell, Louisiana.
According to WWL TV, the seven basketball players missed a game on November 17, 2015 in an effort to be heard about concerns they and their parents said were not being addressed. Those concerns included lack of transportation to games, and the new coach making some of the players feel uncomfortable. In less than 24 hours of boycotting the game, the seven girls were dismissed from the team.
According to CBS Local Sports, the girls accused the first-year coach Panos Bountovinas of being too “touchy-feely”.
One of the dismissed players, Kayla Sibley, told the New Orleans Advocate, “I felt uncomfortable around him on and off the court because he was very feely. Hand on the shoulders and other places and stuff. It made me feel uncomfortable. I never had a touchy-feely coach before. I felt uncomfortable…There were two games this season when [female assistant coach Wendy Stampley] told him to get out of the locker room while we were dressing. He hesitated. [Previous] coach [Kevin] Anderson last year never had that problem. Coach Bountovinas was just standing there. It took him a while to get out. This has happened more than once.”
However, an official statement from St. Tammany Parish’s superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, said the claims are unfounded.
“A thorough investigation by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System has found that allegations brought up in regards to the Salmen High Girls Basketball Coach are unfounded,” the statement read.
The statement also claims the concerns brought forth by four parents of players on the team were investigated and that all of the players on the team were interviewed as part of the investigation. One parent spoke out about the situation.
“They didn’t play because we wanted to get the principal and coach to the table to talk about the issues we have,” said Myles Cooper to the New Orleans Advocate. “This is not a witch hunt against the coach. We want the best for our kids, and we want our kids safe.”
Sports NOLA reported that Salmen parents have been notified that a decision to re-instate the seven players kicked off the team will be made after the holidays.
Atlanta Blackstar made several attempts to contact the Director of Communication for the St. Tammany Parish School Board for comment, but has not received a response.