IHSA board overturns Mooseheart HS basketball decision; African players eligible to play

December 10, 2012 (BLOOMINGTON, Ill.)

The IHSA board of directors is made of up 10 high school principals from around the state and is currently led by the principal of Wauconda High School.

Last week, the ITeam first reported IHSA's decision to oust three basketball players and a track team member from Mooseheart athletics, claiming that they had been coerced into leaving Africa and were ineligible.

It was the same IHSA that had approved their eligibility a year earlier, then waged what Mooseheart alleges was a secret investigation at the urging of a rival high school, Hinckley-Big Rock.

Here is the IHSA board decision:

The Board having considered all the evidence, finds

1.) The investigation by Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson to be complete and appropriate and

2.) The students were taken advantage of by A-Hope Foundation and people related to that organization.

The board hereby overturns the decision of the Executive Director and finds Manguisto Deng, Makur Puou, Hakim Nyang and Wal Khat (the "students") eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics at Mooseheart High School. In making this ruling, the board notes the students have previously served a 365 day period of ineligibility.

The Board has further determined that henceforth any school accepting referrals of students from A-Hope Foundation or any other organization having as its purpose the placement of student-athletes in educational settings, shall be presumptively ineligible.

Mooseheart shall be placed on probation immediately and shall be ineligible to participate is the 2013 IHSA Basketball State Series pending completion of the following to the satisfaction of the Executive Director:

1.) Review and refinement of the admissions process to assure compliance with IHSA By-laws and Procedures.

2.) Training and Education program for all Mooseheart coaches and administrators to assure compliance with IHSA By-laws, with particular focus on the unique structure of Mooseheart within the IHSA;

3.) Submission of a Compliance Plan.

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