Curie High School basketball team allowed to play in state tournament

The Illinois High School Association will allow the Curie High School boys basketball team to play in the 4A state tournament.
March 3, 2014 8:16:10 PM PST
The Illinois High School Association will allow the Curie High School boys basketball team to play in the 4A state tournament.

Curie was forced to forfeit all of its regular season games after Chicago Public School officials found that several players were academically ineligible.

The IHSA does not take into account grade point average, like CPS does, for eligibility. And so Curie will have nine of its 12 players in uniform when it takes the court here on Tuesday night.

On Monday night, Chicago's DuSable High School squared off against Argo from Summit. The winner will take on Curie, now eligible for the state tournament.

"I think Curie has a very good basketball team. So I think they should be able to compete," said Darnell Crowder, spectator.

The Illinois High School Association's decision to allow nine of Curie's players to compete comes three days after CPS stripped Curie of the city title, forced the team to forfeit its 24 wins, and suspended the coach of the team- which is ranked second in the nation.

CPS found seven Curie players to be academically-ineligible since the start of the season after Curie administrators failed to submit proper paperwork for students with low GPAs.

"You're number two in the nation, number one in state, I think it would be pretty much a disgrace if the adults screw it up for the kids. So I think they should be able to play," said Jeff Krob, parent of student in IHSA tournament.

But parent Levar Turner, whose son plays for Argo, says allowing Curie to play sends a mixed message to student-athletes.

"I think it's good for the tournament, the excitement for people to come out and enjoy it, but at the same time, I don't think it's showing that education is the number one priority," said Turner.

Unlike CPS' requirements, the IHSA's eligibility rules don't take into account student GPA, just credit hours and courses passed.

The coach for King College Prep, whose team could meet Curie in the regional finals, welcomes the chance to play against a powerhouse.

"When you're trying to become a better program, you want to play against the best. You don't want a consolation prize and hope they're not in the tournament," said Culumber Ball, King College Prep Athletic Director.

Reports Monday night say among the Curie players eligible to compete is the team's star forward Cliff Alexander, one of the top players in the country. They'll be taking on DuSable High School, which defeated Argo on Monday night.

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