Confirmed victory

Reverse decision to disqualify Hyde Park HS, Bogan HS & Uplift HS from the Boys HS State Basketball Tourney

This petition made change with 45 supporters!


Marty Hickman

Executive Director

Illinois High School Association

 

 

Mr. Hickman,

 

These children have stuck together because they believed in each other and they have sacrificed for a "chance" to pursue their goals. Many of these student-athletes have gone above and beyond the minimum City of Chicago requirments to meet their individual school academic requirements.  We teach our children to always operate with integrity.

 

To have their dreams ripped from them due to no fault of their own is an irresponsible action for a group of adults to take. We teach our children that they have choices in life and they should always make the right decisions. We teach them that there are consequences to those actions as well. The problem here is these kids did exactly what they were told to do. If you asked any one of these kids would they rather play in a regular season game or tourney in November or have a chance to compete for a state championship, I can assure you that every one of these kids would pick the latter. The problem is, they never had that choice. I acknowledge that the difficulty here is upholding the integrity of the IHSA's rules which are in place to create a fair competitive environment and should always be followed, but this enforcement should always be tempered with reason and discretion. Rather than execute an absolute power in error, I would suggest that the IHSA utilize this as an opportunity to raise the accountability standards that administrators should have to their student- athletes.

 

This situation should never happen for a variety of reasons. First off; a Coach, Athletic Director or Principal should always be aware of the rules and be held to a non-negotiable standard of following those rules. Secondly; While it appears that coaches enjoy certain scheduling liberties, the IHSA should always have the final word and approval on compliance. All schedules should be pre-approved before the season or within a reasonable amount of time to insure that the children's best interests are protected.

 

Some may argue that the one game creates a competitive advantage. My response is the IHSA's moral fabric and ethical obligation to each and every student-athlete should always outweigh any perceived or real advantage of playing 832 competitive minutes vs 800 over the course of a season. This absolutely calls for severe sanctions and penalties against the Coaches and Administrators, but not the student-athletes. The student-athletes were misled. If there were "anything" these kids could have done to prevent this, then perhaps there is a way to justify this death penalty, but there is not. If these children went out and committed a crime at the direction and order of their coaches and administrators, it is very likely that they might not be convicted in a court of law because they were following the orders of those that were hired to lead and protect them. These children were ordered to play these games. Were the children's parents advised and asked to sign off on IHSA Bylaw 5.040? If the parents did not receive sufficient notice that the consequence of playing ONE regular season game would eliminate them from competing in the state tourney, the IHSA should reverse this preliminary decision to disqualify these students. The constitution of the United States ensures that all citizens have a right to due process, these student-athletes have not been allowed to exercise their basic rights as citizens of the United States. The Due Process Clause prohibits state and local government officials from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without legislative authorization. These students were ordered to play a game by individuals who have a primary role to protect them above anything.

There comes a time when one must stand up and protect the spirit of rules that are in place. The game limits were not intended to penalize children for the actions of adults. These coaches and administrators are either incompetent or intentional in their behavior and perhaps they should not be in leadership positions with our children without additional training. Either way the kids should not have to pay this price. There will be many more opportunities to teach, but is one lesson that our student-athletes should not be forced to learn.

As a former athlete and participant in the IHSA State tourney, I ask that you reverse this action.

 

Make the only right decision here, and allow the boys to play ball.

 

Read Tribune Article Here

 

Sincerely,

 

Marcus C. Betts



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