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Recruiting Questions Prompt IHSA to Bounce H-F Out of Basketball Playoffs

The team forfeited its Wednesday evening game against T.F. North. They will also have to forfeit regular season wins.

Homewood-Flossmoor's girls basketball team was booted from IHSA playoffs for bylaw violations as determined by the Illinois High School Association. 

The team forfeits its Wednesday night game against T.F. North, according to an IHSA release.

H-F will also automatically forfeit its regular season wins for this season, according to the report.

The violations came to light after Homewood-Flossmoor recently asked the IHSA to review the findings of its own internal investigation, which resulted from a lawsuit filed by one of its current players.

The lawsuit questioned the transfer of four of head coach Tony Smith’s former players from Bolingbrook. It also claims also head coach Anthony 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.

Six transfers are being challenged—four from Bolingbrook: Amarah Coleman, Destiny Harris, Kristen Moore and Lexi Smith. The other two transfers came from Marist (Bria Stallworth) and Plainfield East (Faith Suggs), according to Sun-Times Media reports.

The IHSA reportedly cleared the transfers before the season and declared them eligible.

Other bylaws in question involve a text message from Smith to players, promoting an "open gym," when some of the recipients of the message were not yet enrolled at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. 

Also at issue is a form signed by Smith indicating him as the head coach for a non-school team featuring 11 Homewood-Flossmoor players. The tournament occurred during the school year—when IHSA bylaws restrict the number of high school players that can compete on a non-school team. 

"Not adhering to these by-laws created a distinct advantage for the Homewood-Flossmoor girls’ basketball program,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “The school has admitted to violating IHSA bylaws. ... In fairness to the teams in the tournament who abided by IHSA rules, removing Homewood-Flossmoor from competition was the most equitable decision.” 

IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said more violations, potentially involving other sports as well, may be discovered as the investigation continues. 

“We are still in the initial review of what occurred at the school and when,” said Hickman. “From the information provided thus far, other programs at the school may have also violated our Season Limitation and Open Gym by-laws. However, we will not know the full scope of the possible violations until we have completed our investigation. The investigation into the aforementioned recruiting violations is ongoing as well.”

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Nick002 February 25, 2014 at 09:50 PM
Which is where you lose me, Lisa. You do not (and cannot) fire someone because "where there's smoke, there's fire." And if you fire a coach because he's so good he causes kids to move into the district to play for him .... Well, don't you see how ridiculous that sounds? I want HF to have a coach (and an art teacher, and a calculus teacher, and a band director . . .) that is so good that people will leave their villages and move to ours to experience him/her. (Again, assuming nothing seriously wrong is proven against the coach. If there is, all bets are and should be off. However, you've already convicted him and NJR has already exonerated him and that's where you're both wrong. Let that facts play out first. This isn't Alice in Wonderland.)
NJR February 25, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Oh wow, this is degenerating quickly. Final words... @ Lisa .. You love to read the papers and do all kinds of googling...One of the girls (transfers) has a very compelling story (in the Tribune a couple of times). She is a minor and her name doesn't need to be mentioned here by me. But at any rate, she doesn't need to be collectively bashed here either. (None of them do, but I digress...) As far as college looks / scholarships... I'm happy to say this has everything to do about that, or nothing at all. I'll upset people either way. I was just trying to be FACTUAL, as opposed to OPINIONATED, with my statement. And YES, you have EVERY RIGHT to be upset. And those girls had EVERY RIGHT to move here. God bless America! Sucks, doesn't it?! I hate it when other peoples' rights upset my sensibility! (Lol) But they don't belong here legitimately?!? Wow. That's just plain offensive on so many levels. (And let the record reflect, I'm not claiming to pays taxes here. I have paid them. In. Full. For. 10. Years. And I'm talking about Flossmoor taxes!) ;) Peace.
Lisa Shipman February 25, 2014 at 10:41 PM
@nick002 ~ the last time i checked, he had not been fired. i don't know if he's guilty, but i do know that his behavior warrants looking into. i think HF already does have alot of things that make people move to this community and go to our high school and i think that's great. and if the 4 senior girls who played for smith at bolingbrook for 3 years couldn't fathom their senior year without playing for him, then so be it...let their FAMILIES ALL MOVE to the HF community and each buy a single family home and pay taxes like every other family. there are residency requirements that need to be met. if those residency rules were met, then fine, but 3 moms living with 3 daughters in a house that is zoned for single family use just DOES NOT sound like the residency requirements ARE being met. that's all i'm saying. (and that's what i meant about the girls living here, legitimately, NJR, so don't get your panties in a bunch and act like i said something that i did not) he was accused of recruiting at bolingbrook and now he is being accused of recruiting here. (recruiting is NOT ALLOWED) it all sounds suspicious and i think it should be looked into. i never said he was guilty. i said IF he was guilty, he should be fired and so should any and everyone who helped him. and you know what, NJR? you offend me....on so many levels. peace yourself.
TJjones February 27, 2014 at 08:36 AM
Lisa if you ever went to a girls basketball game, no one sat the bench. I think Coach Smith played about 17 girls every game. Did some of those girls lose some minutes from the previous year? Yes, but he kept all players that were part of the program and he was consistently subbing for 5 players.

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