Suburban School Says Whitney Young Recruiting Athletes

By Courtney O'Callaghan and Anthony Ponce
|  Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010  |  Updated 9:45 PM CDT
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Suburban School Says Whitney Young Recruiting Athletes

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Northwester is one of only five programs in Division I to have never made the tournament.

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The Illinois High School Association has launched and investigation into the Whitney Young high school basketball program for a possible recruiting violation.

It comes after Young held a practice nearly 23 miles away from its home turf, at Burr Ridge Middle School, in November. 

Hinsdale South High School, which is normally fed by students from Burr Ridge, got wind of the practice and complained to the IHSA that Whitney Young was there to recruit middle school players.

The IHSA sent a letter to Whitney Young on Tuesday, requesting an explanation for the out of district practice.

"We are awaiting a response," said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  "It's an odd deal that's for sure. I think it's highly unusual that a school would hold a practice miles away from their district. We're giving them an opportunity to respond and will see what they say."

Tyrone Slaughter, coach of the Whitney Young team, has confirmed that the practice was held at the middle school, but didn't give a reason why. 

When asked if it was a recruiting event, he emphatically said it wasn't.

"We're allowing a person that has nothing to do [either school] to frame the argument," he said of Hinsdale South Coach Vince Doran during a telephone conversation with NBC Chicago.  "We're withholding comment until we read the formal inquiry [from the IHSA]."

Dr. Thomas Schneider, the superintendent of District 180, which covers Burr Ridge, echoed Slaughter's statement.

"It was not a recruiting event.  I understand the appearance -- how it might look -- but that wasn't the intent," he said.  "Our hope was for our students to find inspiration from older students that are good at both athletics and academics."

While there is no specific mention in the IHSA rulebook about holding practices at a middle school in or out of the high school’s district, it is a violation "to induce or attempt to induce or encourage any prospective student to attend any member school for the purpose of participating in athletics even when special remuneration or inducement is not given," according to the IHSA's athletic eligibility by-laws.

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