Season over for women's hoops recruit
BLOOMINGTON — The Homewood-Flossmoor girls’ basketball team, which includes Illini signee Amarah Coleman, was suspended from participating in the IHSA state tournament series.
The IHSA, citing violations of the association’s bylaws, announced the decision Wednesday. The Vikings, ranked second in Class 4A, were scheduled to play Thornton Fractional North on Wednesday night in a regional semifinal game at Calumet City. TF North was awarded a forfeit victory.
H-F also will be forced to forfeit its regular season wins for this season, according to the IHSA announcement.
The IHSA said the school admitted to violations related to athletic season limitations and independent team participation. The IHSA indicated it also found violations of the open gym limitation bylaw.
“Not adhering to these bylaws created a distinct advantage for the Homewood-Flossmoor girls’ basketball program,” IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a statement. “In fairness to the teams in the tournament who abided by IHSA rules, removing Homewood-Flossmoor from competition was the most equitable decision.”
Coleman declined to comment on the tournament disqualification when contacted by The News-Gazette on Wednesday night. The 5-foot-10 senior, who signed with Illinois in November, is ranked by ESPN HoopGurlz as the No. 81 overall player and No. 19 point guard in the Class of 2014.
The IHSA indicated it based its ruling on:
— A series of schedules provided by the school that show separate workout schedules for the girls’ basketball team “by level that violate” the athletic season limitation bylaws.
— A text message provided by the school from head coach Anthony Smith that organized an open gym. A bylaw was violated, the IHSA said, because some of the recipients of the message were not yet enrolled when the text was sent.
— A form signed by Smith indicating he was the head coach for a non-school team that included 11 H-F players. Smith’s non-school team participated in a tournament that occurred during the school year and violated a bylaw restricting the number of players from a coach’s high school team that could be on the coach’s non-school team.
Coleman is one of four players who transferred before the school year from Bolingbrook to H-F after Smith made that same move. H-F also has two other transfer players on its team, from Chicago Marist and Plainfield East.
The IHSA approved the transfers before the season and declared the players eligible.