LAHS Athletics: Hilltoppers hit with NMAA fine

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By Mike Cote

Los Alamos High School’s athletics office announced Friday it received a notice from the governing body of New Mexico prep sports that it was levying a fine against the school.

The New Mexico Activities Association hit Los Alamos with a $2,500 fine for violating a regulation against off-season coaching.

Coaching staff members of both the baseball and softball squads were found in violation of NMAA’s bylaw 7.4. Staff members were involved in coaching summer league squads which included Los Alamos Middle Schoolers.

“You can coach kids under seventh grade,” high school athletic director Vicki Nelms said. “With middle schoolers, you can coach them, too, but not until school is out.”

Nelms said she self-reported the violation to the NMAA, the governing body of prep athletics in the state, once it became clear a violation had occurred. The violation was reported to the NMAA in late May or early June, she said.

If violations such as this are discovered by the NMAA, the fine can be as high as $5,000, but LAHS was given a $2,500 violation because it self-reported.

“I always believe in doing the right thing,” Nelms said. “If something’s wrong, I’ll self-report it.”

Los Alamos has 30 days to pay the fine. Nelms said the fine would be paid back to the athletic office by the two programs.

She said fall sports, which are scheduled to start official preseason workouts Aug. 11 would be financially unaffected.

With this violation, the Hilltopper athletic program is under probation and could lose postseason privileges if any further violations are discovered during the probationary period.

In October 2007, Los Alamos was sanctioned by the NMAA for an undisclosed incident involving a fall sports student-athlete.

Nelms said this most recent violation should never have occurred.

“I’m disappointed, especially after our Victory with Honor presentation in March,” she said. “We still don’t know the rules very well…We’ll continue to monitor, and we’ll make sure coaches know the rule, making sure our program doesn’t suffer in the process.”