IHSA concludes Maine South investigation, announces sanctions

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Executive Director Marty Hickman announced a series of disciplinary actions for Maine South High School and its football program as a result of incidents that occurred at the 2010 IHSA Football State Finals, as well as at other playoff games. The incidents centered around sportsmanship issues involving team officials and the crowd at Memorial Stadium and other playoff venues, alumni and other inappropriate individuals on the sidelines at postseason contests, failure to comply with the number of allowable coaches on the field  and in the coaching press box at the state finals and the production and use of counterfeit passes at the semifinal and state final levels.

“There were a litany of indiscretions that took place at the state finals this year and that situation was compounded by issues that occurred at other playoff games,” said Hickman. “That established a pattern of behavior in our minds and thus, it became important to look at the program as a whole. From a state final perspective, it was important for us to look at this not only from a safety and sportsmanship perspective, but also to gauge if Maine South had gained  a competitive advantage by having more than the allowable number of coaches on the field and in the coaches press box.”

The sanctions announced include Maine South head coach Dave Inserra and assistant coach Rick Magsamen serving a one-game suspension that will be enforced in Week 1 of the regular-season in 2011. In addition, the school and football program will also be placed on probation by the IHSA until December 1, 2011. That probation will extend to hosting IHSA postseason playoff contests, which the school will be unable to do until demonstrating compliance with IHSA playoff policies. Compliance will be evaluated by the IHSA after a minimum of two playoff games. Part of that compliance will include the school submitting a plan to establish institutional control of the football program and a plan to improve sportsmanship by fans, coaches and players. The IHSA will also retain a portion of Maine South’s playoff reimbursement, which was withheld during the course of the investigation, to compensate for loss gate receipts at all levels of the playoffs over the past several years. The Maine South football program had previously been placed on probation in April, 2009 due to a quarterback clinic run at the school by an assistant coach.

Maine South Principal Shawn Messmer, Inserra, Athletic Director Steve Adams and Assistant Athletic Director Jaret Kirshner appeared at the IHSA Board of Directors Meeting on Monday January, 10 to answer questions in regard to the incidents and present a plan to prevent further transgressions.

“It was important that these penalties represented the seriousness of the actions,” added Hickman. “We wanted to make it clear that it couldn’t just be an apology and then back to business as usual. Based  on the talks and meeting we have had with Maine South since the state finals, I am confident that their administration and coaching staff have already taken steps in the right direction and are going to work diligently to prevent something like this from happening again. We appreciate the school and administration’s cooperation and candor throughout this entire process and will work together to move beyond this.”