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Article updated: 2/19/2014 8:59 PM
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IHSA suspends Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball coach, program
 

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IHSA suspends Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball coach, program
Daily Herald report

The Illinois High School Association announced Wednesday that Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball head coach Anthony Smith and his team have been suspended from the postseason.

The suspensions come as the result of violations which were reported by the school to the IHSA. The report containing the violations was necessitated by a lawsuit filed by one of the current H-F players.

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The school first suggested to the IHSA that it would suspend Smith and 11 of the current varsity players yet still continue in the postseason with other players.

But on Wednesday morning, the school appeared before the IHSA board, and executive director Marty Hickman ruled that the program was ineligible to compete in the current playoffs. The IHSA Board of Directors then considered and denied an appeal from the school.

The structure of the regional in which H-F was scheduled to compete has not been altered, meaning Thornton Fractional North wins the scheduled Wednesday night regional semifinal matchup by forfeit.

H-F will also forfeit all its victories from the regular season.

The violations center around Smith's influence spreading beyond the scope of what is permitted by IHSA rule, including overambitious practice schedules, open gyms for the team that included players not yet in the school district and team competition outside the high school season.

"Not adhering to these by-laws created a distinct advantage for the Homewood-Flossmoor High School girls basketball team," Hickman said in a news release. "The school has admitted to violating IHSA by-laws 2.090 and 3.107. In fairness to the teams in the tournament who abided by the IHSA rules, removing Homewood-Flossmoor from competition was the most equitable decision."

The Vikings were rated by most observers as one of the best teams in the state.

Smith coached Bolingbrook to four state championships between 2006 and 2011. In an eight-year run with the Raiders, his teams finished a cumulative 231-21.

A complete report from the IHSA including details of the specific violations can be found on the IHSA's website at ihsa.org.

• The IHSA Board also approved a new system that will move non-boundaried programs that have met with consistent success into a higher classification. In practice, this will penalize private school teams who have succeeded beyond the scope of their own like-sized schools.

The provision includes a measure for allowing a waiver to being moved into a higher classification, but those waivers are more difficult to obtain as the level of postseason achievement becomes greater.

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