Judge Rules Sudanese Athletes Can Play -- For Now | NBC Chicago

Judge Rules Sudanese Athletes Can Play -- For Now

IHSA accused Mooseheart of recruiting students from Sudan for the sole purpose of playing basketball



    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012)

    Three Sudanese basketball players can play for a suburban Chicago school's team thanks to a Kane County judge -- but their long-term future on the team remains in doubt.

    Judge David Akemann ruled Tuesday the teens at Batavia's Mooseheart school couldn't be benched until the Illinois High School Association hears arguments on the eligibility issue.

    The IHSA contends Mooseheart school violated its bylaws by recruiting the teens specifically for their athletic ability, a charge school officials deny.

    "Mooseheart did not recruit these students," said Scott Hart, the school's executive director. "We never saw any YouTube videos or stats or game footage or anything. Here's what we knew about them: they came from a war-torn country and they need a safe place to grow up and a quality education."

    The charge of the athletes' ineligibility came from the coach of the school's rival at Hinckley Big Rock. Those two teams will face off Wednesday.

    But on Tuesday night, the Sudanese players who stand between 6 feet, 7 inches and 7 feet tall played their hearts out, beating the Westminster Warriors 53-21.

    The full IHSA board will hear the case next Monday in Bloomington.

    "We're going to fight for them. If it doesn't work out our way we're OK with that. We're still going to take care of them," said Hart.