The Illinois High School Association on Wednesday denied an emergency appeal from Lemont High School after their girls volleyball team was disqualified hours before the start of play in the IHSA state series due to an additional game played during the regular season.
John Young, the school’s athletic director, took responsibility for the scheduling error that resulted in the disqualification.
A letter requesting an emergency hearing was sent Tuesday evening, alleging the school was only informed of the disqualification hours before the start of the regional competition, leaving no time for athletes or school administrators. school to appeal the decision.
The emergency appeal alleges that the IHSA allowed a “last-minute challenge” to a team’s eligibility that resulted in a “serious and inappropriate consequence” that left no time for a review process. appeal described in the IHSA statutes.
The appeal argues that the abrupt end to the Lemont women’s volleyball season and its impact on student-athletes goes against the association’s values, while asserting that the penalty for the planned additional match should be suspension of coaches and/or administrators.
The Lemont girls volleyball team was ranked first in its section before the start of regional competition, holding a 27-9 record and winning the program’s ninth straight South Suburban Conference title.
Young released the following statement Tuesday evening:
“I am heartbroken for our players, our coaches and our families. Naturally, they are very upset, and they have every right to be. Our student-athletes have done nothing wrong. I’m really sorry that our players are forced to pay for my mistake. This was an inadvertent scheduling oversight, not an intentional act to circumvent IHSA rules,” Young said.
The IHSA Contest Limitations Rule prohibits member schools from playing more than 35 games excluding the IHSA State Series.
During the regular season, Lemont played in 17 standalone games and four tournaments, according to school officials. Due to Lemont’s progress in some tournaments, they played 19 matches in those four tournaments.
Lemont’s season finale on October 18 against Chicago Christian, a non-conference game and their 36th of the regular season, pushed the school beyond the allowed number of regular season games.
The IHSA released the following statement after the emergency appeal hearing in Bloomington Wednesday afternoon:
“The season limitation rule exists in all IHSA sports to ensure competitive fairness among schools as they compete in the IHSA State Series. As unfortunate as the outcome was, these teams received a competitive advantage that no other team in the tournament received, and there is over 40 years of precedent dictating that violation of this rule excludes a team from participation in the State Series. “Neither I, nor the IHSA staff, nor the IHSA Board of Directors take joy in making this decision, but we have the task of enforcing the rules put in place by our member schools.” said Matt Troha, IHSA deputy executive director.
Lemont High School released a statement following the ruling, announcing that the school was considering legal action.
“On Wednesday, October 25 at 2 p.m., the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors held an emergency appeal hearing to reconsider the IHSA’s declaration that the Lemont High girls’ volleyball team School is not eligible to participate in the IHSA State Series.
The IHSA Board of Directors listened to our call, asked a few questions and engaged in a closed session to discuss it. Unfortunately, our appeal was rejected.
We are exploring available legal options and making every effort to give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the IHSA State Series. »
The IHSA added that three other Illinois high school girls volleyball teams were disqualified from the IHSA state series for the same violation.
Lemont was forced to forfeit its regional match against Back of the Yards of Chicago, which is recorded as a 25-0 victory for Back of the Yards.