The Lincoln Park High School boys basketball team didn’t suit up for its Chicago Public League playoff game Tuesday night.
They weren’t allowed to, as wide-ranging allegations of sexual misconduct, financial misconduct and recruiting violations caused the school to cancel the remainder of the season amid a school-wide investigation that has led to the departure of several coaches and administrators.
Lincoln Park was scheduled to play Perspectives-MSA in the first round of the Chicago Public League playoffs on Tuesday. It’s looking like they’ll end the season with a 19-3 record, as it’s unlikely that Lincoln Park will be included in the Illinois High School Association state playoffs when the seeding takes place Feb. 18.
“There are allegations of student misconduct and adult misconduct,” CPS spokesman Michael Passman said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The season would not be suspended if the district was only looking at adult misconduct.”
The issues have been going on for about a month, according to the Chicago Tribune. Boys basketball coach Pat Gordon was suspended by Chicago Public Schools following misconduct that occurred during a team trip to Detroit during winter break.
The team was left without a leader after interim coach Donovan Robinson was reassigned last Friday as part of a deeper investigation that also led to the reassigning of Dean John Johnson, and firing of Interim Principal John Thuet and Assistant Principal Michelle Brumfield.
During a community meeting Monday, CPS officials didn’t go into specifics of the allegations, which include four separate investigations into sexual misconduct, retaliation against witnesses, lying to families and financial mismanagement. Lincoln Park girls basketball coach has also been let go after alleged improper contact with a player.
"My first priority is to protect the students who are victims in this case, and there are students who have been emotionally harmed as well as physically harmed, and that's always going to be my primary focus," CPS CEO Janice Jackson said during the meeting, according to CBS 2.
“The information that was provided by CPS personnel at the town hall last night was pretty fulsome,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Sun-Times on Tuesday, noting that it’s unlikely Lincoln Park’s season is reinstated. “Based on the information I was provided, I have confidence that the CPS personnel took the right steps to make sure that we had a safe, healthy school environment for young people.”
Students walked out of class on Monday and Tuesday, seeking answers and supporting the fired administrators.
"Nothing got done. They didn't tell us anything,” junior Estrella Sutton told CBS. “We still don't know what happened. We still don't know why we don't have a principal. We still don't know why our dean's fired. We don't know anything essentially.”
“You have to realize this is a bigger thing and it can’t come on the shoulders of people who have been here for four months, that is unfair and unprofessional," Lincoln Park band director Kelley Gossler told Fox 32.
"My recruitment just opened," Romelle Howard, basketball co-captain and senior, said during the walkout, according to ABC 7 Chicago. "I'm trying to go as far as I can with this."