Based upon the notice by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) on March 8, 2023 (which is included below) related to the Maine South football program, the District is providing the statement from the IHSA and the response from the school district below:
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IHSA ON MARCH 8, 2023
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) provided notice to Maine South High School on March 8, 2023, that its football program will be sanctioned for the use of ineligible players during the 2022 season.
The penalties come as the result of a joint investigation between the IHSA, Maine South High School, and Maine Township High School District 207. The investigation culminated with the high school and district self-reporting that multiple players violated IHSA By-law 3.030 by participating at Maine South High School while not residing in the school’s attendance area during the 2022 season.
“The IHSA recently received credible information that Maine South football players who did not reside in the district participated on the team during the 2022 IHSA football season,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “District 207 and Maine South High School personnel promptly conducted a meticulous internal investigation, in conjunction with the IHSA, after being informed of these allegations. After a thorough review, they self-reported violations of the IHSA residence by-laws by multiple student-athletes on its 2022 football roster.”
As a result of the investigation, Maine South will forfeit nine total victories against the following teams from the 2022 season: Barrington High School, Bolingbrook High School, Evanston High School, Glenbrook North High School, Glenbrook South High School, New Trier High School, Niles West High School, South Elgin High School, and Stevenson High School.
Additionally, the program will be placed on probation through the end of the 2023-2024 school year and have been formally notified that future violations may result in removal from the IHSA State Football Playoffs.
“The IHSA’s by-laws are the foundation of the Association and its ability to follow its mission of providing equitable participation,” said Anderson. “With over 800 member schools, we depend on our schools to adhere to these rules and to work with the IHSA in instances where violations may have occurred. I commend Maine Township High School District 207 and Maine South High School personnel for recognizing the serious nature of these allegations and their diligence in investigating and reporting these violations. I believe that District 207 has already begun to take appropriate steps to prevent future issues like this from occurring again and will aid them in any way that I can in that process.”
RESPONSE STATEMENT FROM DISTRICT 207
District 207 was made aware of potential residency violations involving the Maine South football program and launched residency investigations which led to a finding that multiple non-resident students had participated on the Fall 2022 Maine South football team. Once the investigations and appropriate student due process was completed, the District notified the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to self report the violations which led to the IHSA imposing sanctions including the forfeiture of all games during the 2022 season, the program being placed on IHSA probation for the 2023 season with the communication that further violations could result in disqualification for the 2023 football playoffs.
“We fully support the IHSA and accept the sanctions,” Superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace said. “Along with Maine South football coach David Inserra, we will work diligently to ensure this never happens again. Coach Inserra is a dedicated educator and coach, and we know that he will work tirelessly with us to eliminate this issue. We need to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the IHSA, as well as the law in Illinois related to school residency. In this situation, I am most disappointed for the student-athletes on the 2022 Maine South football team who will bear the brunt of these penalties. Because of our location and the quality of our schools, we have always had instances of families trying to send students to our schools without establishing legal residency.”
“We are committed to ensuring that only students who reside in Maine Township High School District 207 are attending our schools,” Wallace added. “We owe it to our taxpayers to be diligent with residency issues and will continue to improve our residency process to ensure only families living in District 207 are sending their children to our schools. We will actively pursue any families that break the law and try to illegally enroll students in District 207, whether for athletic and/or academic reasons. Not only will students be dis-enrolled, but families will be held liable for the cost of tuition as required by law.”