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SouthtownStar (Chicago, Illinois)
An unidentified Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball player dropped her lawsuit last week following the fallout of the team's ban from state play earlier this year.
The Illinois High School Association's suspension of head coach Anthony Smith in February effectively fulfilled what the lawsuit brought by the unnamed H-F player sought, attorney Gregory Mitchell, who is representing the player, said.
The remaining unresolved portion of the suit that centered on the recruitment allegations would have been costly and time-consuming for his clients to pursue, Mitchell said.
"The season is over," Mitchell said. "It's still their school. They have a lot left of their senior year."
The lawsuit, which was filed in January, claimed that six transfer students practiced with the H-F team during the summer while still enrolled at other schools and that Smith violated IHSA's rule regarding the recruitment of students. The teen's suit sought removal of Smith as head coach and that the six players be deemed ineligible.
The IHSA forfeited the second-ranked team's 21 victories and banned them from competing in this year's playoffs.
But the IHSA's February decision didn't address the allegations brought in the lawsuit. At the time, the IHSA said the decision stemmed from its inquiry, prompted by the lawsuit, and that the violations were found after H-F asked the IHSA to review its own internal investigation into the lawsuit's claims.
H-F Principal Ryan Pitcock reported rules violations to the IHSA, including that the school improperly held conditioning programs "for a span likely greater than nine years" that were not open to all students. Pitcock also acknowledged to the IHSA that Smith attended an AAU event, signed in as head coach and watched a game in which his players were playing, a violation of IHSA rules.
A message left with the H-F school district was not returned Tuesday.
Smith had previously coached at Bolingbrook High School, winning four state titles. Four of his former players followed him from Bolingbrook to H-F.
H-F officials had cleared the transfers with the IHSA, Mitchell said.