Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Seven girls from a high school basketball powerhouse in Louisiana were kicked off their team after complaining about inappropriate behavior from their coach. The girls are students of Salmen High School in Slidell who won the state championship in both 2013 and 2014. The coach, Panos Bountovinas, is in his first season with the team and was accused by the girls for being too ‘touchy-feely’. Here is what Kayla Sibley, one of the dismissed players, said about their new coach to 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.”
The girls felt that their complaints to school administrators were falling on deaf ears so they refused to show up for a recent road game in protest. That prompted the school to dismiss the girls and they also launched an investigation into the alleged behavior. The school then ruled that the allegations were unfounded and released this statement:
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.
A parent of one of the players believes that a lack of communication between the administrators and the players is a big problem:
“They didn’t play because we wanted to get the principal and coach to the table to talk about the issues we have. This is not a witch hunt against the coach. We want the best for our kids, and we want our kids safe.”
As of Friday there is on-going discussion as to whether or not the players will be allowed to rejoin the team. The parents of the players have been notified that a decision will be made after the Thanksgiving holidays.