Sudanese Basketball Players Cleared to Play

Mooseheart basketball team banned from postseason play pending IHSA compliance

Monday, Dec 10, 2012  |  Updated 7:29 PM CDT
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Judge Rules Sudanese Athletes Can Play -- For Now

Mooseheart coach Ron Ahrens speaks with his team before their game with the Westminster Warriors last week. The three Sudanese players the Sudanese players stand between 6 feet, 7 inches and 7 feet tall.

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Mooseheart Child City & School Inc.

Kurt Westheimer explained to us what the program Mooseheart is all about.

Judge Rules Sudanese Athletes Can Play -- For Now

The IHSA contends Mooseheart school violated its bylaws by recruiting the teens specifically for their athletic ability, a charge school officials deny. Dick Johnson reports.
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The Illinois High School Association declared a trio of Sudanese basketball players eligible to play for Mooseheart Child City & School on Monday.

The coach at a rival school questioned the student's eligibility, contending that Mooseheart recruited the teens specifically for their athletic ability, a charge that the IHSA executive director initially upheld.

But last week, a judge ruled the players could compete pending Monday's decision by the full IHSA board.

The board ruled that the students were taken advantage of by A-Hope Foundation, the organization that helped bring the students to the U.S..

The students -- Manguisto Deng, Makur Puou, Hakim Nyang and Wal Khat -- will be eligible to participate in athletics, but Mooseheart wsa placed on probation and ineligible to compete in the postseason pending compliance with specific IHSA bylaws.

The students are scheduled to graduate in 2014.

The Board also ruled that any schools accepting referrals of students from the A-Hope Foundation or any other organization placing foreign student-athletes in education settings will be immediately ruled ineligible.

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