H-F Athlete Sues School Over Alleged Recruiting Violations

Girls Basketball Coach Anthony Smith is denying the allegations.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Girls Basketball Coach Anthony Williams transferred to the school this year from Bolingbrook.
Homewood-Flossmoor High School Girls Basketball Coach Anthony Williams transferred to the school this year from Bolingbrook.

A Homewood-Flossmoor student athlete is taking the school to court for what she claims are unfair recruitment practices by new girls basketball coach Anthony Smith, reports the Sun-Times Media.

The suit, filed in court on Wednesday, alleges Smith of recruiting six of his former players from other schools. It also claims Smith promised the six new players’ parents their girls would have starting positions on the team and they would get help in getting athletic scholarships for college, according to reports. The IHSA has a rule that prohibits any recruiting, no matter where the students live.

“That’s something that I’m not thinking about or not worrying about because that’s just not true,” Smith told the Sun-Times Media.

While the suit calls the transfer of students a violation of IHSA rules, District 233 says the association approved all six transfers, according to the report.

The plaintiff, who is a minor, is asking for the termination of Smith and athletic suspension for the six transfer players until the IHSA can look into the recruiting violation claims.

Rikki January 21, 2014 at 04:41 PM
Equal playing time is not something that occurs at varsity level sports, and it shouldn't. Just like honors classes aren't for every kid. As parents, we need to set our expectations for our kids high and teach them to be morally responsible. Beyond that, they can participate in intramurals, theatre, band, orchestra, choir, other clubs, or varsity sports... as their talents allow. It certainly sounds as if something fishy occurred with these transfer students. If the district employees tasked with verifying residency dropped the ball, and that is their sole responsibility, they should be fired. Likewise, is any administrators are found to be complicit, I will do whatever I can as a resident to see that they are replaced by more competent or diligent personnel.
Lisa Shipman January 21, 2014 at 05:43 PM
i think it's over simplifying the situation to say a parent is simply unhappy with their child's playing time. you certainly underestimate and under appreciate the HF girls! aren't they allowed to be concerned about their playing time being taken away by girls who you already admit had D1 schools looking at them? aren't they supposed to worry about their own college careers? are they to step aside quietly while their spots are taken...should they feel 'fortunate' to be able to play for this new coach, even though they are not really going to get the playing time they would have gotten? so they will be on a team that is now on the "map" and may become number #1 in the state? (which they now feel completely not a part of anymore?) wow. aren't they lucky? they should quit acting like spoiled entitled brats and buck up and play harder if they want their own position back? the girls who transferred in...they are so good, such good players, that THEY deserve the entitlement of transferring to a school just to play for a coach that they want to play for? why do THEY get to do that? why aren't they told, well, yes, this was your coach and you played for him (wherever) but now he is leaving so you will just have to suck it up and play for the new coach of YOUR OWN school. if you want to be that good, you can be that good on your own, no matter what coach you play for, etc. etc. blah blah blah. PLEASE. HF is not a private school. what you are saying is that HF should have the #1 team in the state, at all costs, even to the players. the IHSA should have rules in place to prevent this kind of thing and if they did not already, and this coach and the HF administrators were able to get around the rules and do this legitimately, then this case should set a precedent and show cause to the IHSA why the rules need to change. just like rich coleman mentioned, above.
Rikki January 21, 2014 at 05:50 PM
Work hard, study hard, be the best you can be. Is life always fair? Heck no... and it won't be when the kids move out of our homes and into the professional world. If winning the high school state championship is the best thing that happens to these girls, I feel bad for them. We chose to send our son to a high school that wins state championships more often than not. There are young men who do not see much, if any, playing time. They are part of a team and contribute where and when they are asked. We chose the school because of the quality of the people he will spend so much time with during these formative years. His peers and educators expect academic excellence, strong character, and personal integrity. He will end up being a better adult because he has been surrounded by this mentality, not because his high school won state championships. IF this coach engaged in illegal recruiting, he should not be in a position of leadership. I don't care if the guy can make a star athlete from a mound of clay. IF it is proven that something shady occurred, I certainly hope ALL participants are dealt with swiftly. While winning the championship doesn't make HF a better high school, this controversy tarnishes the many commendable aspects of the school.
Rikki January 21, 2014 at 07:22 PM
I am not an outsider. I am a Homewood resident. I want our public high school to be the best institution possible. In that respect, I think we all agree. This situation affects my property value, my community, and possibly my younger children's futures. We don't know if there was any unethical or illegal action taken by the coach and/or administrators. I hope some type of amicable resolution is reached where all involved parties are cleared of bad behavior. As far as playing time is concerned... no player is guaranteed playing time and they should NOT be!... Not in high school sports or any other competitive sport environment. That idea that everyone should make a team and play even amounts of time is part of the problem.
Marco January 21, 2014 at 08:36 PM
@NJR please highlight the falsehoods you so passionately speak about. everything I said is 100% , the team being tols last year...100%, the girls having scholarships lined up prior to transfering...100%. like I said name one coach in the ihsa that demands that type of following outside Simeon (whitney young maybe). Again folks can go back and forth about playing times until they are blue in the face this was a very specific move...they just all happened to decide to follow thier coach? let use some of that adult knowledge people. oh and yes I'm a resident as well. do you have any kids that go to hf? if so, poll them and their friends..you'll.be surprised (heck they knew abiut the teacher death before we did...my son told like 2 days before I didn't believe him). again if on the up and up okay..but the way they went about was all wrong....fact other coachs in the division even questioned the moves....here is something to think of their best player played for the coaches aau team and didn't switch to Bolingbrook for her freshman/sophm seasons...she is nationally ranked with schools beating down her door and just b chance .wants/needs to move to hf to prep for the next level.....realky, alk the fools ib hf please scream yes at the same time.......okay I didnt hear anything. as good as this guy is , he doesn't come close to these D1 schools..coaching staffs, conditioning corrdinators, etc.one of my good friends is sn assistant coach for the illini..... and I can assure you when the colleges pick you up..... They make sure you are ready and it'sfar beyond the high school level....judging by the blowouts alk coach Smith is doing is letting them have fun
Lisa Shipman January 22, 2014 at 03:06 AM
@NJR ~ Well you certainly seem to be privy to so much more information than we do. You even seem to know the girls on the team and their parents and not only know THEM, but their thoughts and feelings on the situation as well. You say his biggest detractors are his opposing coaches. Well I had a personal conversation with a coach from HF, who although was told by administration that she should say NO COMMENT to any questions asked of her regarding the situation, she feels that what went down, was wrong and that several other HF coaches feel the same way. Even if they are not allowed to talk about it. But How can we continue to argue with someone who undoubtedly knows so much more than the rest of us do..... If everything you say is true, then I guess the coach has nothing to worry about. That's a big 'if' and I'm still not taking you at your word, though. There's something about someone being so sure they are right, yet reluctant to admit who they are, that makes me a tad skeptical, but hey.. That's just me!
NJR January 22, 2014 at 07:13 AM
I do know a lot about the situation, and only speak to the things I do know and those I believe to be true. Removing my earlier posts as I entered this fray against my better judgement. Things are not always as they appear. We'll all see how this plays out. One thing is certain, no one really wins in this situation. Whatever happens...I'll remain an HF fan. Go Vikings!
Really Real January 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM
There is only one woman coach for the girls basketball team, which is an assistance of Coach Smith and you are saying she said he ask those girls to transfer? I would love to hear that from her mouth. Thank you for the information. I seriously doubt Tony came to HF and spoke to other coaches on different sports and admitted that he was doing illegal actions. He is a experienced coach, not a first year coach. His record speaks for itself.
Marco January 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM
@really real...she said "a coach" not "the only one woman coach for the girls basketball team", you made that assumption as their numerous women coaches at the school and as long as they are in the athletic department I'm pretty sure "no comment order" applys to all staff. Also a lot of people's records speak for themselves, but it's funny how much that record speaks when shady things come to light. Nobody is denouncing his record, this is about the legality of the transfers; fyi good men do bad things everyday for various reasons.
Genvieve LaChappele January 22, 2014 at 01:16 PM
It is so obvious that HF is all about becoming a sports powerhouse. They just spent 29 million dollars on a new sports facility. The new addition to North is a huge atrium and a sports complex. Anyone seen the latest school report card? The amount of HF kids meeting or exceeding state expectations is as low as 50 percent. State standards are not that high people. 29 million dollars all devoted to athletics, better wake up folks. When they belly up to the bar to raise taxes, remember where it is going.
NJR January 22, 2014 at 11:21 PM
hometown January 23, 2014 at 07:26 AM
@NJR tgis article highlights how the administration dropped.the ball by not being intelligent enough to see that 6.....yes 6 elite transfers were going to be an issue. Also, all.the writer's references to going to a good program to develop so.they can get looks is pointless....since these girls already had scholarship offers from elite schools. We get it...you're a Smith supporter (and probably a new hf RESIDENT, right). I have nothing against the guy, but how this situation was handled is an embarrassment period! He was brought here to build a better program..(you do that by assessing the exist or scraping and build up...not by transfer your roster from.one program to the next)
Marco January 23, 2014 at 07:43 AM
@hometown.......I agree 100%
Really Real January 23, 2014 at 09:04 AM
I wonder if these are the same parents that got rid of the previous coaches. It seems when things don't go their way they try and remove the situation. Just FYI. If their child would ever get a scholarship to play ball in college they have NO control of playing time and the coaches. New girls will be coming in every year to get their spot and if they do not have the hard work and dedication on the court to fight for their spot. Things will not go their way. I hope all that have been commenting on this issue have been attending the girls bball games. I notice some work harder than others and the coach is quick to pull them off the court when mistakes are being made and all the 17 players play. Hope to see you all at the game tonight. Let's go HF. Work hard play harder!
Lisa Shipman January 23, 2014 at 09:23 AM
how do parents 'get rid of coaches'? that's an absurd statement. your 'FYI' about college ball is silly, as well. this is NOT college ball we are talking about. you are comparing apples to oranges. i hate to keep having to say this, but HF is a public high school. not a college and not a private or charter school. most of your comments are nonsensical. really? we're not allowed to have an opinion unless we've attended a game? lol. that's funny.
Marco January 23, 2014 at 09:28 AM
@really real...again these are your assumptions. Nobody is taking anything away from those that work hard, however, when you have a situation where the doctrine of working harder means nothing b/c despite your efforts we are going to go find the best for the betterment of the program....that's not cool. I know the transfers worked hard, but so did the girls that played last year...the issue I have is that this year's team was fronted with 6 top college recruits (that obviously played harder than most to get attention and accolades they deserve) in a way that raises the issue of questionable actions (yes, 6 families willing to move their immediate families some 30 or 40 miles away, so their elite kids with scholarships could get better to get scholarships they already earned...sounds funny...it does to me too). If this all legitimate then fine I can swallow that, but I'll make an assumption too and say it's highly unlikely that everything is as it appears to be.
Really Real January 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Don't we all get out kids ready for college and the real world. In college and the real world you will have people competing to get your position. The majority of the girls are seniors. Why not start teaching them now that life is not about things being earned to them. You have to work for it. Also all the transfers do not have scholarships. Only 3 of the 6 do. Would you be happy if they sat those 3 and let the others still play and try and get something. All in all if you are all parents. You try and send your child to school with a teacher that is teaching your child to be successful. What is wrong with the parents sending them to the best coach to make them a better player. I was happy to know he was coming to HF, because I researched his past history of success and my daughter will be able to be under his wing and learn something when she to makes it to HF. To bad HF parents don't see how many girls he has helped and want him removed. If he ends up leaving and going to another school that will be sad for future HF girl ballers.
Rikki January 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Perhaps the girls will follow the coach to his new school as well... that seems to be the pattern. I don't mean to be flippant, but really?! I hope the people who are worried about playing time and basketball scholarships are as concerned about the education of these young ladies. Even if every single one goes on to play in the WNBA, the reason they are in high school is to receive an education. No matter what the resolution, the basketball program is tarnished. This controversy reflects poorly on the IHSA, HF administration, and Coach Smith. I hope a thorough investigation commences and quickly acts in a manner best for all involved. Most of all, may this serve as impetus for the IHSA to enforce strict guidelines on the eligibility of any student athlete who transfers during high school.
Marco January 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Wow...you're doing an awful to praise this guy. Again you assume parent are not or have not spoken on the valuable lesson of life not being fair...I'd assume you're wrong to think parents haven't had that conversation. So going forward lets try to remove the emotional aspect of life teaching moments and deal with the legality of 6 students transfering in. The residency checklist (1st line if defense) is in place to make sure not just the fact that you have a residence in hf, but that you actually live in hf. See it becomes a cumbersome process to change your check stubs or get water turned.on, register your vehicle just to appear you reside here vs just having a residence. Again...it's very easy to set up residence vs proving you actually live here, which should have been vetted to the highest degree especially when you have not 1, but 6 college prospects tranfering (you could've done 2 with no push back, but 6 seems like didn't really see this coming). That's the issue
Rikki January 23, 2014 at 02:03 PM
My main point is the situation has gotten attention because of basketball. The real issue has sadly been overshadowed. Would it have ever gotten press if six Mathletes or Scholastic Bowl studs were the transfers? Every student should expect unfettered access to a good education. If varsity sports isn't an option or doesn't provide a positive environment, there are other options for students to participate in extra curricular activities.
NJR January 23, 2014 at 02:14 PM
Clearly everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to pick up their families and move, for the purpose of sending them to the school district of their choice at anytime they chose, for whatever reasons they decide are important to them at that time. And everyone is entitled to sue. The court will decide if any laws were broken. If it's decided no laws were broken it appears to me some may insist that at the very least rules were bent, people acted outside of the spirit of the law, and the laws should be made tighter and tougher to keep people out of our district. Let silly season begin! (are some reasons to move into a district better than other reasons? I guess that depends on your opinion, but I digress..) So be it. People are entitled to their opinions. Got that. But what if the coach also pursued HF girls to play that weren’t previously playing? What if those HF girls then decided to play, worked hard, earned their spot and as a result also secured scholarships? (maybe they even had fun! Gasp!!) What if the coach is currently scouting local HF talent to bring to future HF teams? What if one bad apple spoiled the bunch? Would never happen? Don’t be so sure. It’s great to have such strong opinions. It looks bad that 6 girls transferred in? If you say so, but they were also within their rights. Any wrong doing has yet to be proven. Why so much pre-judgment on 6 girls and coach who does his job well? I have not lived in HF district all my life, but I have lived here for almost 10 years since my kids were quite young. We moved here for the great school district, impressive diversity, affordability, quality of life… I could go on and on. It’s proven to be a great choice for our family. If this incident is a stain on the community, that is reflected by people on both sides of this conversation. It’s still a great community with a lot to offer people. People whose children are not scholars also benefit from the IB program HF offers. People whose children are not athletes will too benefit from the new field house. You may not like the $30mln price tag, but over time it will add value to the community. (Go see some facilities other communities have... why not HF?) I’m baffled why people would be upset to see HF an athletic power house. This does not have to be done to the exclusion of academics. Lets hold our prejudices please.
Marco January 23, 2014 at 02:17 PM
My comment was for@really real. However, you are right...until the elite mathletes and bowls studs tranfer in under questionable circumstances then....this board will light up about it. Folks continue to beat a dead horse with the education issue...I assumed we were all adults and figured that was a foregone conclusion...sorry my bad. The sports-education or degree of education or whatever does not apply here. Start one and label it "My childs education..good..bad ...or ugly" that's where we have this discussion....this is about sports and transfering...so while we (I made an executive decision to speak for all) appreciate the lesson on parents being more concerned on education...rest assured we already know, but this ain't the discussion for that.
Marco January 23, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Man this is a passionate group....but there's two sides of every coin. Why not be objective instead of standing in front of the coach with your Amor? why go 100% in the defense of the situation without waiting for the facts to appear? I baffled too that you would think that people would be opposed to hf being a sports powerhouse...we welcome that, but we all have high expectations that things are done correctly. Since this discussion started I have remained objective..if all legit fine, but on the same note a group of high caliber athletes transfer in the way it was donedoes raise questions. Hecl the link you posted further shows how this was poorly handled given national attention, would you agree?
NJR January 23, 2014 at 03:09 PM
There was an earlier post that sounded derogatory regarding HF’s supposed intentions on becoming an athletic powerhouse, and also some bitterness regarding the field house price tag (I get that – it’s a BIG number!) … so that’s what I was referring to. Not intending to put everyone in one soup, but this is getting exhausting, so my apologies on that one. I’m new to these posts and will to my best to resist in the future, but in this case I am fully vested (in case that isn’t apparent.) As far as the article I posted, while I’m not sure I endorse the national exposure on this sensitive topic, I agreed with much of it. Perhaps I read it the way I wished to and glossed over any negative implications of the school board. It also stated that a coach of this caliber would not have to actively recruit, call (or promise these players anything). They would come on their own. Nobody here seems to comprehend this point, or why the girls would follow him. I believe the premise of the case is that he illegally recruited them. I don’t think he did, even if it looks that way. Time will tell on that one. Also, filing the case as a “Jane Doe” was very strategic. I know more facts than are appropriate to share in this space. So while it may look bad, I’m trying my best to point out that there is another side to this coin, as you said. Let’s not be so quick to tar and feather and run this guy out of town. He brings a lot of good to the table as well. You may not see and very few here seem to believe it.
Rikki January 23, 2014 at 03:17 PM
I have zero problem with HF striving to be an athletic powerhouse. In fact, I applaud anything that will allow our youth to reach their potential. Anything ethical... Cheating is disgusting and sets a horrible example for our children. Has it been proven that cheating occurred? It has not. I haven't wrongly accused ANYONE. The circumstances look bad. No one can deny that. My main concern is this situation comes to a satisfactory resolution. My alluding to the fact that people are much more concerned because it involves athletics is just to point out that had the transfer students not been "star players", we wouldn't even be talking about the coincidence of the transfers. I am one of the most competitive people I know and it makes me sad that academics seem to be taking a backseat to the athletic component. I am not trying to provide a "lesson" for any adult. I am merely speaking my opinion.
Rikki January 23, 2014 at 03:23 PM
Marco and NJR, I respect both of you. I am glad that the community we live in has people who feel so passionately about our youth. I was not trying to be disrespectful in any way. We have a son in high school and two younger children. We struggled with where to send him to high school. Things are so much more complicated than they were when we were young.
NJR January 23, 2014 at 03:51 PM
Phew, what an introduction to comment boards! I agree it's vital for people in the community to feel so strongly about what goes on. Another reason to love HF! :) I'm so glad we could keep it all respectful. Can sometimes be difficult behind a keyboard when people (me!) may feel a tad emotional/defensive. So my thanks! If he's found to have cheated, I'll admit that would be a tough pill. But I wholly agree that is not the way to go about things and we do not want that reputation. If he comes out clean, I hope we can all agree that he's been fully vetted and move forward. (to State!) LOL ;-)
Jennifer January 24, 2014 at 06:14 PM
Does anyone wonder how they pay for these girls to travel around the country for these nationally ranked games?
Really Real January 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Fundraiser and each department is given a budget for the year.
Jennifer Molski March 17, 2014 at 05:06 PM
The Wednesday, March 19th meeting of the Homewood-Flossmoor Area League of Women Voters will feature guest speakers Dr. Von Mansfield, Superintendent of Homewood-Flossmoor High School and Dr. Ryan Pitcock, Principal of H-F. Meeting is at 7pm at the Homewood Library.


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