Sudanese athletes at suburban school declared ineligible

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A west suburban high school accepted four students from war-torn Sudan about one year ago.

They went on to become star athletes on the school’s basketball and cross country teams.

Now state high school officials say, those students are not eligible to compete because the school chose to accept them based on their athletic ability.

“Mooseheart Child City and Schools” — located in an unincorporated area of Kane County — has taken children out of dangerous environments for 99 years.

It provides them with housing and education, from infancy through high school.

Three of the Sudanese students are very strong players on Mooseheart’s basketball team — the fourth won honors for cross country.

The Illinois High School Association declared Thursday that Mooseheart improperly chose those students.

The association ruled that recruiting athletes internationally gives Mooseheart an unfair advantage over other schools.

Mooseheart claims it did not choose the students for athletic reasons, but based their decision on the children’s needs.

It is appealing the IHSA’s ruling, asking a judge for a temporary injunction allowing the teenagers to play until they can receive a full hearing.

Mooseheart attorneys and administrators were expected in court Tuesday.


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