Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
By Mike Clark
East St. Louis is out of the state football playoffs again, this time likely for good.
On Thursday the St. Clair County Associate Judge Richard Aguirre granted the IHSA's request to lift his temporary restraining order that put the Flyers back into the Class 7A bracket last week.
Aguirre's ruling allows the IHSA to enforce executive director Marty Hickman's ruling that East St. Louis must forfeit the first five of its nine regular-season wins from this season (and all 10 victories from 2009) for using an ineligible player, senior lineman Charles Tigue.
Hickman originally had made that ruling on Oct. 26, but East St. Louis went to court and got the temporary restraining order on Oct. 28. The Flyers then beat Belleville West 41-10 last Saturday and were scheduled to play Belleville East in this weekend's second round.
Now, the Flyers will be forced to forfeit that first-round win and Belleville West will return to the playoffs to play at Belleville East at 1 p.m. Saturday.
This is an important ruling that reinforces our ability to govern our member schools, said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. It is the obligation of each member school to abide by those rules and to be accountable for the repercussions that accompany failure to comply. This is an unfortunate incident, but it does not change East St. Louis Senior High Schools status or standing as an IHSA member school. It is our goal to now work with the schools administration to improve the policies and procedures that allowed these violations to occur, in the hopes that this situation never repeats itself.