Intelligence Report: Mooseheart High School files lawsuit against IHSA

December 3, 2012

UPDATE: Mooseheart students from Africa can play, judge rules
DOWNLOAD: The Verified Complaint
DOWNLOAD: The Notice of Emergency Motion
DOWNLOAD: The Memorandum in Support of Emergency Motion
DOWNLOAD: The Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order

Moosehart High School may be in suburban Chicago but this story begins in Africa with three Sudanese teenagers who came to Mooseheart as students and athletes.

The young men became the subjects of a secret investigation by the IHSA, according to the legal action taken by the high school. The suit accuses the IHSA, the organization that regulates high school sports in Illinois, of collusion and fraud.

The Mooseheart High School basketball team practiced Monday afternoon for Wednesday night's game against archrival Hinckley-Big Rock.

Mangisto Demg, Makur Puou and Akim Nyang are from the Sudan, one of the most war-ravaged nation's on earth. They came here a year ago to attend the well-known residential school.

As of now, the three students won't be allowed to play.

The IHSA said they could join Mooseheart's basketball team after sitting out one season as required by state transfer rules.

So a few weeks ago, the three students began playing for Mooseheart.

IHSA Director Marty Hickman sent Mooseheart administrators this letter, informing them that they had "unduly influenced the African students to attend Mooseheart" and therefore the three were permanently ineligible to play on the team and the school had to forfeit all games in which they had played.

"Today this lawsuit was filed in Kane County alleging that the IHSA approved the African students' playing a year ago, then conducted a secret investigation of them; eventually denying their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and destroying Mooseheart's reputation in the process," Mooseheart Executive Director Scott Hart said.

The suit claimed that it was archrival Hinckley-Big Rock High School that filed the complaint against the African student players, the same team they had on the schedule for Wednesday.

The three African teenagers were initially connected to Mooseheart through a controversial organization called A-Hope that finds student athletes mostly in third world nations and places them in American high schools and colleges.

A fourth Mooseheart student-athlete from Africa is also affected by the ban.

He ran a full season of cross country and won a state medal, all of which are to be scrubbed under the IHSA ban.

Tuesday morning a Kane County judge will hear Mooseheart's emergency motion to put the punishment on hold until a full IHSA hearing can he held.

That would also allow the three to play in their archrival game Wednesday's night.

Hickman issued this statement on behalf of IHSA:

"At this juncture, I can confirm that I have ruled four student-athletes from Mooseheart High School ineligible. Mooseheart has filed a complaint and is asking for a Temporary Restraining Order in Kane County Court, which will be heard on Tuesday. In light of the pending litigation, I will offer no further comment at this time."

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