Jim Gazzolo column: Repairing spygate damage

Published 3:16 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

There is no link between the Southeastern Louisiana football program and anything that McNeese State says has taken place.

Any mention of that in reports is incorrect.

On Monday, Southeastern head football coach Frank Scelfo defended his program and called any reference to the Lions being a part of anything at McNeese as “bull…”

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“We did nothing of the sort,” Scelfo told the American Press. “It had nothing to do with Southeastern.”

That was confirmed Tuesday.

The only connection to Southeastern was the timing. McNeese’s football program says it began its in-house look into whether game information and practice videos were either leaked by somebody on staff or hacked from an outside source.

That investigation started the night of Nov. 4, the same day the Cowboys lost to the Lions. However, there was nothing directly from that night which started the process.

The American Press has confirmed through sources that there was a game, in which McNeese players claim, their plays were called out. However, at no time has anybody confirmed during what game that took place.

All this comes as the latest news about a long football season that saw the Cowboys stumble to a program-worst 1-10 record. During that time, football officials began to wonder if there were some other issues at work.

Second-year McNeese head coach Gary Goff said that in one game, “Our kids came off the field and said they knew our plays and were yelling them out by the exact names almost before we had them relayed,” when he first was asked about the subject.

Cowboys officials said their investigation confirmed their suspicions that McNeese information was either hacked or leaked, including game video of practices, and had been viewed by somebody outside the program.

“We feel a little bit betrayed and confused,” Goff said last week. “We have no idea who that was or if that information was passed on to anyone else.”

Something was noticeably different when the Cowboys, who usually signal in plays straight from the sideline, were seen huddling and using wristbands during a practice.

They used the same system during the final game of the season to try and combat any possible security issues.

While some may say otherwise, this seems to be more of an issue created in house. Goff has said the entire incident has him even more paranoid as a coach moving forward.

As if the pressure following a historically bad season is not enough for the McNeese coaches to clean up, they have to deal with this mess.

Jim Gazzolo is a freelance writer who covers McNeese State athletics for the American Press. Email him at