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Boys Basketball: Homewood-Flossmoor under IHSA investigation, may face state playoff banishment

Homewood-Flossmoor boys basketball coach Jim McLaughl| File photo

Homewood-Flossmoor boys basketball coach Jim McLaughlin | File photo

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Updated: March 26, 2014 6:21AM



Homewood-Flossmoor’s boys basketball program could find itself in a similar postseason position as the girls program — on the outside looking in — when the findings of an Illinois High School Association investigation are complete.

IHSA executive director Marty Hickman acknowledged H-F’s boys hoops program is under investigation and could suffer the same consequences as the girls: banishment from the state playoffs. The IHSA is hoping to make a ruling by Wednesday.

H-F, which is 12-11 this season, is scheduled to begin its Class 4A title pursuit March 5, against the winner of a play-in game between Lincoln-Way Central and Andrew. The Vikings are seeded No. 6 in the Thornton Sectional.

“Their (boys) program is in violation of our early-season program,” Hickman said. “They’ve acknowledged it. You can’t have sports-specific conditioning programs during the offseason. It has to be open to all kids. We’re going to try to bring some resolution to this as quickly as possible. I hope to have a decision soon, maybe on Wednesday.”

As of Monday, the IHSA still was reviewing all the details concerning the Vikings boys program. Therefore, Hickman couldn’t divulge the potential severity of punishment, if any. He made it clear the girls had broken multiple bylaws, including season limits, open gym limitations and independent team participation, which warranted harsh punishment.

“At this point and time, we have given all documents to the IHSA,” said Jodi Bryant, H-F’s Director of Human Resources and Public Relations. “We are working diligently with the IHSA. We talked to Mr. Hickman (Monday) and he let us know he would work quickly. It’s an unfortunate situation. We’re willing to do whatever is necessary to come into compliance. This is something we need to fix. We will do things better. It’s understandably upsetting to the players and the community.”

On Feb. 19, the IHSA suspended the Vikings girls basketball team from the state playoffs and forced the team to forfeit 21 regular-season victories. The program’s coach, Anthony Smith, was suspended indefinitely.

“There were multiple violations of our rules with the girls,” Hickman said. “Maybe the boys have a similar problem, maybe they don’t.

Hickman acknowledged that other sports, beyond H-F’s basketball programs, also are being investigated. That issue stems from a letter H-F principal Ryan Pitcock sent to the IHSA acknowledging the offseason program had been in effect “for a span likely greater than nine years.”

Hickman wouldn’t divulge which sports are being investigated.

“I don’t know specific sports and I can’t tell you for sure there are going to be more suspensions,” Hickman said.

When asked if spring sports could be affected, Hickman said, “it’s likely some of the spring sports are involved.”

Bryant said the school isn’t looking at the possibility of other school sports, beyond the hoops programs, facing suspensions.

“Right now we’re focusing on the basketball programs,” Bryant said. “A violation is an opportunity to correct some things and to do better and to improve.”

Hickman was pleased with the steps H-F has taken to get in accordance with the IHSA’s bylaws.

“They’ve taken excellent steps,” Hickman said. “They have suspended all ongoing early-season programs. They’re putting together a plan that is fully compliant with the IHSA bylaws.”



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