Ruling: Sudanese athletes allowed to play

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The Illinois High School Association has ruled three high school basketball players from Sudan can continue to play for Mooseheart High School.

The board’s ruling was unanimous to allow the Sudanese players to play and overturned its executive directors decision from last month, which said that moose heart broke the rules, and brought these students here for the sole purpose of playing sports.

The school brought the four Sudanese students, who are between 6’4” and 7 feet tall, to the U.S. last year with the help of Indiana-based organization A-Hope, whose mission is to bring african students with athletic ability to the United States.  The IHSA says A-Hope took advantage of the young men.
“We really feel that the students were pawns in all of this,” said Dan Klett , IHSA board president.  “They did a very nice job presenting to us and explaining their particular situations.”

But while the Sudanese players can play, and so can Mooseheart’s team, the school is on probation and will have to sever ties with A-Hope, begin training all Mooseheart staff on IHSA compliance and file a plan with the board.   Or the team can’t play in the upcoming state basketball tournament.

And while the IHSA says it won’t investigate the A-Hope organization in and of itself, any school in the state who accepts referrals from them or any organization based on athletics will, by its rules, be ineligible to play.

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