Maine South football sanctioned by IHSA, forfeits 9 wins

Maine South High School's football program is facing sanctions after an investigation involving the Park Ridge school revealed multiple players violated rules by playing for the team while living outside its attendance area.

Maine South saw its 2022 season end in the Class 8A quarterfinals with a 9-3 record. The school will forfeit regular-season wins over Barrington, Evanston, Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South, New Trier, Niles West, and Stevenson, and playoff victories against Bolingbrook and South Elgin high schools.

The school will be on probation through the end of the 2023-24 school year and has been formally notified future violations may result in its removal from the IHSA state football playoffs, the IHSA said.

"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," IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. "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 bylaws by multiple student-athletes on its 2022 football roster."

Maine Township High School District 207 Superintendent Ken Wallace said the district supports the IHSA and accepts all sanctions.

"Along with Maine South football coach David Inserra, we will work diligently to ensure this never happens again," Wallace said in a statement. "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."

Wallace said the district owes it to taxpayers "to be diligent with residency issues" and will improve its process to ensure only families living within District 207 are sending their children to its 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," he said. "Not only will students be dis-enrolled, but families will be held liable for the cost of tuition as required by law."

In 2011, the IHSA disciplined Maine South and its football program for actions during the 2010 state playoffs, including the Class 8A championship game, which the Hawks won.

Those sanctions were for sportsmanship issues involving team officials and the crowd at Memorial Stadium and other playoff venues, alumni and "other inappropriate individuals" on the sidelines during games, too many coaches on the field and in the press box during the state finals, and the production and use of counterfeit passes at the semifinal and championship games.

The IHSA suspended Inserra and then-assistant coach Rick Magsamen for the first week of the 2011 season and placed the school and football program on probation until Dec. 1, 2011. That precluded Maine South from hosting at least the first two rounds of the playoffs; the Hawks lost to Stevenson in the second round.

Maine South football previously had been placed on probation in April 2009 due to a quarterback clinic run at the school by an assistant coach, according to the IHSA.

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