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May 12, 2019 — A “superprep” finds some trouble

This week, it was announced that Kaleigh Gibbons, the head coach at Bradenton IMG Academy (Fla.), was being suspended for comments made to team members. These comments were originally reported in a story by Lacrosse Magazine:

It was an innocent conversation, to begin with. It started off with a girl on our team talking about what kind of dog she just had. She bought the dog for $1,500. I was like “oh my gosh are you kidding me?’ I get all my dogs for free, because on the reservation there are a lot of dogs that run around. They’ll mate and we’ll have litters of puppies for us to take one for free. I was explaining that to her and then the authority figure came in and said ‘Oh, I heard that’s how people are on your res, too.’ To not only degrade us to animals, but also give into a stereotype at the same time, and to go in and make a huge assumption about an entire group of people, it made me lose a ton of respect for that person.

Although not originally attributed to Gibbons, an investigation by the school as well as a meeting between team members and the IMG Academy head of school led to her suspension.

As with many situations which have occurred in the administration of youth sports over the last few years, it is, i think, necessary to bring in some context into this story. The Lacrosse Magazine article was about Jacelyn and Mimi Lazore, who played for Fort Covington Salmon River (N.Y.), the year a film crew did a documentary on the team as it embarked on a remarkable season.

Shortly after that, however, the sisters transferred to Gill Northfield Mount Hermon (N.H.), then moved a year later to IMG Academy, the nation’s first “superprep” girls’ lacrosse team.

The Ascenders’ lacrosse team, while maintaining its affiliation in the Florida State High School Athletic Association, plays a diverse schedule. They had both Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) and Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.) on their schedule, as well as teams from Georgia, New Jersey, and California.

As such, you would think that IMG’s program would be represented and coached by people who would not make comments like the one excerpted above.

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