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HS Sues Association After Controversial Playoff Loss

Courtney Cameron

Fenwick High School filed a lawsuit Monday against the Illinois High School Association after the board of directors made the decision to uphold an illegitimate overtime win for Plainfield North in the class 7A semifinals.

Leading the game 10-7 in the final four seconds, Fenwick threw downfield from its own 15-yard line and was penalized for intentional grounding. Game officials then made the controversial move of awarding Plainfield North with an untimed down, which is not in accordance with National Federation of High School rules. Plainfield North then kicked a field goal to force overtime, where they then won the game 18-17.

In response to the inappropriate bestowment of an untimed down, Fenwick submitted an appeal to the IHSA to overturn the outcome of the game. However, the IHSA board of directors is not authorized to hear the appeal due to the language of bylaw 6.033, which states, "the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the board of directors."

Executive director Craig Anderson of the IHSA told the Chicago Tribune, "The IHSA board of directors did meet via conference call this morning to review whether or not an appeal by Fenwick High School could be heard based upon the language of the IHSA by-laws. The outcome of the conference call by the board of directors was that the by-laws did not allow the board to review the appeal."

Fenwick’s only way forward, then, is to go over the head of the board.

In its official statement to the press, Fenwick wrote, "Pursuant to the outcome of the game, IHSA invited Fenwick to submit an appeal to the IHSA Board. Early Monday morning, the IHSA Board determined that it would not hear the appeal. As a result, in an effort to protect the rights and rightfully earned opportunities of its students, Fenwick High School has filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois seeking declaratory, injunctive and other relief against IHSA."

The case is to be heard 9 A.M. Wednesday by Judge Kathleen Kennedy of the Cook County Chancery Court.

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