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updated: 12/11/2012 5:16 PM

Mooseheart has until Feb. 4 to comply with IHSA, end probation

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  • Four students from South Sudan are attending Mooseheart High School this year, including, from left, Wal Khat, Mangisto Deng, Makur Puou and Akim Nyang.

      Four students from South Sudan are attending Mooseheart High School this year, including, from left, Wal Khat, Mangisto Deng, Makur Puou and Akim Nyang.
    Courtesy of Mooseheart


A day after three Sudanese basketball players were reinstated, attorneys for Mooseheart Child City and School near Batavia were back in Kane County court trying to tie up some loose ends on the lawsuit filed last week against the Illinois High School Association.

The IHSA board overturned a Nov. 29 ruling that previously declared three players -- Mangisto Deng, Makur Puou, and Akim Nyang -- along with cross country runner Wal Khat, ineligible.

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Still, Mooseheart is on probation from the IHSA and officials must complete a compliance process that includes training for Mooseheart officials. The process is expected to take a few weeks, and a court date of Feb. 4 has been set to give the school ample time, Mooseheart attorney Peter Rush said after a court hearing Tuesday.

"The idea is to put the lawsuit on ice" until Mooseheart completes the compliance program and probation is lifted, Rush said.

Mooseheart must complete the compliance program before the trio can play in the state basketball tournament, which begins in mid-February.

Mooseheart sued the IHSA last week and obtained a temporary restraining order allowing the three to play basketball until Monday's hearing in Bloomington, at which the IHSA board reversed a previous decision by its director.

Mooseheart officials argued they never recruited the teens from Sudan and that the four sat out the required 365 days after they transferred to Mooseheart.

"Mooseheart maintains it violated no IHSA rules in accepting these young men as students, nor has it ever recruited any student for the purpose of improving its athletic standing it its 100-year history," Mooseheart Executive Director Scott Hart said in a statement.

"We believe our organization has a comprehensive and detailed admissions process, in determining both the level of need a child has to be considered for placement at Mooseheart and the likelihood of success for that child within our program.

"No organization is perfect, however, and we will act upon the IHSA ruling as a learning experience and a chance to better our already high standards," Hart concluded.

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