Maine South High School’s football program is facing sanctions after an investigation by the Park Ridge School found several players broke the rules by playing for the team while living outside of their area of presence.
Maine South finished the 2022 season in the Class 8A quarterfinals with a 9–3 record. The school will lose regular-season wins to Barrington, Evanston, Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South, New Trier, Niles West, and Stevenson, and playoff wins to Bolingbrook and South Elgin high schools.
The school will be on probation through the end of the 2023-24 school year and has been formally notified that future violations could result in their removal from the IHSA State Football playoffs, the IHSA said.
“The IHSA recently received credible information that Maine South football players who do not reside in the district participated on the team during the 2022 IHSA football season,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “Staff at District 207 and Maine South High School, in cooperation with the IHSA, promptly conducted a thorough internal investigation after being informed of these allegations.
“After a thorough review, they have self-reported IHSA residency violations by several student-athletes on their 2022 football roster.”
Maine Township High School District 207 superintendent Ken Wallace said the district supports the IHSA and accepts any sanctions.
“Together with Maine South football coach David Inserra, we will work diligently to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Wallace said in a statement. “Coach Inserra is a dedicated educator and coach, and we know he will work tirelessly with us to eliminate this problem. We must follow IHSA rules and regulations and Illinois law regarding school attendance.
“In this situation, I am most disappointed for the student-athletes on the Maine South 2022 football team, who will bear the brunt of these penalties. Because of our location and the quality of our schools, we have always had cases of families attempting to send students to our schools without legal residency.”
Wallace said the district owes it to taxpayers to “handle residency issues diligently” and will improve its process to ensure only families living in District 207 send their children to its schools.
“We will actively pursue any families who break the law and attempt to illegally enroll students in District 207, whether for athletic and/or academic reasons,” he said. “Not only are students being de-registered, but families are being held liable for statutory tuition fees.”
In 2011, the IHSA disciplined Maine South and its football program for actions during the 2010 state playoffs, including the Class 8A championship game that the Hawks won.
These sanctions included athletic issues with team officials and the spectators at Memorial Stadium and other playoff venues, alumni and “other inappropriate persons” on the touchlines during games, too many coaches on the field and in the press box during the state finals, and the making and Use of fake passports in the semi-final and league games.
The IHSA suspended Inserra and then-assistant coach Rick Magsamen for the first week of the 2011 season and placed the school and football program on probation until December 1, 2011. That prevented Maine South from hosting at least the first two rounds of the playoffs; The Hawks lost to Stevenson in the second round.
Maine South football had previously been placed on probation in April 2009 due to a quarterback clinic run by an assistant coach at the school, according to IHSA.