The playoff road for head coach Tony Smith and Homewood-Flossmoor's highly regarded girls basketball team was cut short Wednesday.
It was announced in a release on the Illinois High School Association website today that the team was suspended from participating in the IHSA state playoffs over a series of IHSA by-law violations it committed with Smith at the helm of the program.
Smith was formerly girls basketball head coach at Bolingbrook High School. After leading the Raiders to four state titles and three other state trophies, Smith resigned as Bolingbrook's head coach in May before landing at H-F.
After taking over at H-F, Bolingbrook players Amarah Coleman, Destiny Harris, Kristen Moore and Lexi Smith transferred there.
The violations came to light after Homewood-Flossmoor recently asked the IHSA to review the findings of its own internal investigation, which stemmed from a lawsuit filed by one of its current players. The school’s investigation did not produce any violations.
The violations center on the IHSA’s Independent Team Participation, Athletic Season Limitation, and Open Gym Limitation by-laws.
“Not adhering to these by-laws created a distinct advantage for the Homewood-Flossmoor girls’ basketball program,” IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said. “The school has admitted to violating [the season limitation and team participation] by-laws. In fairness to the teams in the state tournament who abided by IHSA rules, removing Homewood-Flossmoor from competition was the most equitable decision.”
In addition to suspending the Vikings from postseason play, the IHSA required them to forfeit their regular-season wins from the 2013-14 season.
On the evening of February 18, the school initially indicated to the IHSA that it would self-impose suspensions of 11 of its current varsity players and head coach Anthony Smith over the violations, but that the team would participate in the playoffs with other players.
On the morning of February 19, the school asked to appear before the IHSA Board of Directors' regularly scheduled meeting on the same day. Hickman provided an official ruling when school officials arrived, suspending the team and head coach Anthony Smith from participating in the playoffs, at which point the school appealed the ruling before the Board.
Hickman said more violations, potentially involving other sports at H-F, may be discovered as the investigation continues.
“We are still in the initial review of what occurred at the school and when,” Hickman said. “From the information provided thus far, other programs at the school may have also violated the Season Limitation and Open Gym by-laws. However, we will not know the full scope of the possible violations until we have completed our investigation. The investigation into the aforementioned recruiting violations is ongoing as well.”