IHSA investigating four Catholic to Public League transfers

St. Joseph's Marquise Walker (15) pulls up for a three-pointer over Larkin's Anthony Lynch (21) in the 56th annual Proviso West Tournament. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

The Illinois High School Association is investigating several of the recent high-profile Catholic school to Public League transfers.

Between this season and last season, Xavier Pinson transferred from St. Patrick to Simeon, Maurice Commander from Marist to Curie, Chase Adams from Marian Catholic to Orr and Marquise Walker from St. Joseph to Curie.

“Upon requests from the sending schools, as well as Chicago Public Schools in some of the instances, we are conducting a review of several transfers, including [the ones listed above],” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “We are helping to review the non-concurrence and eligibility determinations.”

All four of the players are Division I college prospects. According to a source, none of the original schools has signed off or “concurred” with the transfers. That’s unusual.

According to IHSA bylaws Chicago Public Schools rules on the eligibility of its transfers. The IHSA only gets involved when the original school refuses to concur.

“We aren’t looking to hurt the individual players, but the fact of the matter is that when our transfers get investigated by the IHSA but the CPS transfers don’t, that is a red flag for us and the league,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said.

Most Catholic school coaches are unwilling to go on the record about the issue, but they say Public League coaches are recruiting their top players and say that in some instances the players don’t live in Chicago.

Orr and Curie were scheduled to play on Wednesday, but the game was postponed. Three of the uncleared players would have been unable to play.

“Our basic thing is calling attention to the IHSA that there is a lot of this going on,” Taylor said. “We just want them to investigate. Four schools in [the East Suburban Catholic] were effected. It’s not that we are trying to stop kids from playing. The adults have to start behaving like adults.”

According to the IHSA a few of the investigations could be complete as early as next week, but they are still waiting on paperwork for some of the players.


  • Shawn

    Catholic league is complaining about rule it implemented on its self. A few years back a lot of Catholic school would steal a lot of public league players. They would give them a Reduction intuition or or a full ride. Parent started to complain and some coaches who could not get the public school kids complained.

  • Shawn

    I just would like to know if any of these players would receive a scholarship from a Catholic high school if they could not play basketball. Secondly, how many Coaches in the Catholic league can relate on a personal level with the Student Athlete.

  • Jimmy from Elmwood Park

    The entire system is rotten to the core. ALL of these kids are paying next to nothing at their Catholic schools. They switch to CPS schools that can provide the highest profile for them in basketball. Education is at the very bottom of the priority. Commander left the IL Wolves AAU program after one year because he did not like to hear the reality of him being a talented kid, but undersized. Marist coaches bent over backwards for him and he turned his back on them. Best of luck to him, he is a good kid, but don’t fool yourself for a second that he is getting a better education at Curie. All he is getting there is people willing to commit fraud to make it appear that he scored higher on his ACT. Derek Rose is a prime example.

  • Barron Von Wildcat

    Boundaries? For real??? University Park to Mt Carmel…Are all catholic school in a “SAFE” environment? Man y’all need to stop… These coaches just salty lmao.

  • RealityCheck

    Shocking how many commentators below are mall swing the point. Nobody is saying kids shouldn’t be able to transfer or do what is best for their family. The problem is that the rules aren’t the same. If parents decide to transfer from an unsafe, overcrowded, academically inferior public school to a private school, that kid most likely will have to sit out an entire school year. THAT is more akin to modern day slavery.

    • Fact Checker

      There is a misconception that Chicago Catholic schools are academic meccas. With the exception of a few, e.g., St. Ignatius, the vast majority are poorly funded and academically dorment, with non-certified teachers. Consequently, there has been a decline in enrollment with many of them, either closing or shifting to a co-ed model. Moreover, the academic literature (see Stanford’s Sean Reardon, UIC’s Paul Zavitkovsky, and UChicago Consortium’s Elaine Allensworth) revealed that “Chicago Students Growing Faster Than 96 Percent of Other Districts [across the country]”. Therefore, the 1980’s rhetoric about underperforming CPS schools is a thing of the past. Please check your facts before you comment…

      • RealityCheck

        Fact #1: The average ACT score of a CPS student is over three points lower than state and national averages.
        Would you like another?

        • Fact Checker

          Fact #2… CPS or other schools in Illinois no longer sit for the ACT. Please reference accurate data. The appropriate data source is the new SAT. Fact #3… Catholic and private schools are not required to report performance data. Also, they are not mandated by ISBE or NCLB for accountability measures. Thus, they do not test all of their students, unlike CPS and other state schools. Fact #4…Their test scores and other metrics are inflated because they are not bounded by external reporting. Fact #5… The top performing high schools in Illinois are located in District 299 – CPS.

          • keeping it thorough

            In addition is the fact that Catholic Schools will rid themselves of “problematic” students prior to taking standardized tests. Kids that can’t cut it academically are removed from Catholic Schools and placed Where? You guessed it in public schools. “Underperforming” Public Schools don’t have the option of dismissing kids they don’t want. They have to take them as long they reside in their attendance area.

          • mikenike

            Don’t argue with RealityCheck on this. To him, Catholic and private schools equal Harvard.
            And, gee, I didn’t know about that public to private transfer thing, he’s only mentioned it on here about 300 times.

    • Terry

      What Chicago public schools are overcrowded? There are over 100 hundred public high schools in the district and a large number are outperforming Chicago Catholic schools, without the cost burden. Your entire argument cannot be rooted in a few schools. Now, I’m not opposed to a Catholic school education, but to listen to someone attempt to discredit a school because a student seeks a transfer is silly talk. Here is long-time tactic of some Catholic schools: they provide a scholarship to a student-athlete and when he decides to transfer they stick him with a past due tuition bill. And you’re talking about ethical behavior… really.

    • Vashon

      @realitycheck, there are no more overcrowded public schools in the city anymore. That thought process is probably 20 years dated!

  • John

    So what happens when you transfer in college? Do you sit out a year?

  • JMatthews

    Y’all complain too much.

  • conner

    The article said some of the players don’t live in Chicago, then transfer to the school in your district

  • Juswatchin

    I think you should be able to go to whatever school you want!!!!!!! As long as there are no promises, no money exchanges hands, and no grades are being fixed… Forcing a kid or anyone to be in a situation they don’t want is simply wrong and unfair… Also college is really expensive and any inner city kid that get a chance to get out the Chi and go to any institution of higher learning FOR FREE…all thumbs up…life changing….

  • OLD

    I’m sorry coaches but nothing is about to happen here…Leave it alone …Kids transfer all the time why is it a big issue now…I don’t like it but hey that’s how it is…

  • Skywalker

    It’s sickening to think that schools perceive children as property. Is this a modern version of chattel slavery? There are ethical concerns with the alleged basketball transfers but a family should have the right to make decisions that best serve their children. Strangely, this is only an issue with basketball. Students transfer to schools for numerous reasons with no complaints. There aren’t any restrictions on coaches moving to another school. Students deserve the same right. More importantly, the ultimate goal is to ensure that a child has access to college – even if s/he transfers to another school. We all win.

  • Coach

    The Catholic League coaches complain about the public league is stealing there players .These kids came from public elementary schools first. So who stealing players?

  • Just wondering

    I was wondering if IHSA if a high school coach comes and recruitis kids in the 8th grade from a different school district is unethicall then helps parents to finds housing within that school district

  • Black

    You hit the nail on the head (keeping it thorough) if the players weren’t the best players on the team, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There were other transfers, but their names weren’t mentioned, because they were not the top players. I’m sure players in other sports such as, golf, tennis, baseball, gymnastics,wrestling, transfer as well. Basketball happens to be a high spectator sport, so the spotlight is on it. Do we put restrictions on coaches for leaving a school for a better opportunity? Absolutely not!!! Believe it or not people, sometimes the circumstances call for a change in environment.

    • RealityCheck

      So kids that transfer from public to private for a better opportunity shouldn’t have to sit out a year either right?

  • Wake up

    You guys are all missing the point. How do all the same top 4-5 CPS schools get the top transfers from other schools? How does a player from a “suburban” catholic school transfer to a school on west side in the murder capital in the country? Let alone academically the biggest drop off there is? Or how about Young having an assistant coach that skill trains using WY’s gym and working out players and getting them to transfer? For example the kid from DePaul Prep. BTW would be Slaughter’s third recruiting violation once it becomes official that player is not eligible. Also, enough of all the nonsense how parents cant afford the tuition. All 4 major players in this article could afford it the past 3 years? But not now? Lets be real. This includes other players not mentioned in this article. Agree or disagree we all know what is going on.

    • Skywalker

      The concept of stealing “players” speaks to the point of children being perceived as property. It’s such a linear view to think only in basketball terms. A child’s future is more important than city or state championships. Again, I believe a family should have the right to do what is in their best interest. We can’t forget that “this” is the land of free enterprise – capitalism. Perhaps it doesn’t apply to teenage boys.

  • Boxtalk

    It wasn’t an issue when the white kid transferred to Uplift from a private school a couple of years ago?? So why is it an issue now when certain black kids leave?? If their parents can’t afford or doesn’t feel that it’s feasible to pay tuition then it’s their right to pull their children, it’s not like the education is better anymore because Some CPS schools rank higher than Catholic Schools!! It’s just some sour coaches that want to hurt the kids because they left if they were bench players IL they probably wouldn’t care less. Let the kids PLAY!! This is there outlet god forbid these kids are ineligible and something tragic happens because they’re in the streets because they are not on the court, then what or who’s to blame??

    • Mike22

      The white kid that transferred to Uplift didn’t leave a private school. Northside is a CPS selective enrollment school.

  • suburban baller

    I like the rule in Michigan MHSAA. If you transfer and its determined it is sports related by the MHSAA then you sit out 1 year to the date of your transfer. Private or public. in the (PSL) Detroit public league and Detroit Catholic League (CHSL)they don’t have all this transfer stuff because the MHSAA but its foot down years ago and stopped it. Your parents better move and live in that community or district.

  • Superconference Darkhorse

    There should be penalties to principals & coaches too. If a principal takes a new job, and has a relationship with a coach at another school, he will hire him, with intent of getting players or bringing players with him. That coach isn’t restricted to stay, or not coach for a year, nor are penalties to principal from taking a coach from another school. CPS& IHSA need to clear all transfers eligible & then allow one governing body the following year.

    • Pissed

      Anyone thought about looking at public to public transfers? Reed and Thorne at Naperville Central come to mind. Both just coincidentally transferred at the same time from Matea Valley who this year went 1-8. Come on! Their parents both happened to decide to move to Central’s boundaries, at the same time? Would be interesting to see if they really do live there. Total BS. There are other examples at other schools – you know who you are. Gaming the system.

  • Mike O'Malley

    Whatever happened to having pride in your school and being loyal regardless of wins. These are kids being used by coaches to build a great basketball team. Is that coach going to be so worried about that kid in 10 years when life hits them. Absolutely not, the coach will be on to the next player. These parents have their priorities way out of line.

  • Mike O'Malley

    There are rules. This isn’t about anyone not wanting a kid not to play. It’s about following the rules that are in place. We have to teach the kids that rules apply. Just because you can put a ball in hoop doesn’t mean the rules apply. This is high school. School is supposed to be the most important thing. Mike Taylor is right. Using a kid because he can play basketball is all for the coaches. Don’t think for a second it’s not the coach. In life, you can’t always bend the rules.

  • Rick

    Heard from some credible coaches that the new tool to get these kids to their schools is Ubering students. This applies to both the public and private schools in the city. Crack down, year long suspensions, forfeit games, and post season ban is the only way to set these schools straight for years too come. Wouldn’t mind a hefty fine of over 10K as well. Crazy times in high school athletics

  • Dean

    The IHSA should police this as hard as possible, but probably won’t. They can’t seem to get much right. It’s all about the money and the few elite teams getting their way. ..

  • Pirate Sleeved Jersey

    Is it not obvious that after enduring almost a year of Trump in the White House these kids came to the conclusion that there is no God so why should they waste a good hour a day of class time in religion class when they could learning something useful?

  • Sean King

    Just let the kids play. This is sour grapes if you ask me. The amount of pressure these kids are put on and now you add this. Come on man at the end of the day these are just kids. The fighting is being done by adults who more or less are upset that they no longer have their best players. #getoverit

    • keeping it thorough

      Agreed. If it were the 12th man no one would care. Probably would feel relieved that they no longer have to deal with a nagging parent whose always about their child’s lack of playing time.

      Let’s take the case of the Commander child from Marist. He was the player of the year in his conference. 2 or 3 year starter. Didn’t have 1 Div. 1 offer while he was a student at Marist. He leaves Marist and all of a sudden he is flooded with about 20 scholarship offers.

      If that kid had remained at Marist who knows what may have happened. We do know what happened once he exited. Ultimately it should be about what’s in the best interest of the child. Too often it isn’t. It’s about hurt feelings and weakened basketball teams coached by the adults.

      The mature and appropriate thing to do would be to simply wish the child and his family well and move on.

      • RealityCheck

        So kids that transfer from public to private for a better opportunity shouldn’t have to sit out a year either right?

      • Hoops Samurai

        So the kid transfers and gets 20 offers before he plays a game for the new school and it’s the new school’s credit?

        Here’s a question, & this is especially true with the aau hustlers, ncaa coaches cannot comment on who they’ve offered and contacted so how do you confirm that 20 number or any number or supposed “offer”?

        • keeping it thorough

          The Father of the Commander kid Thanked his AAU coaches via Twitter for what they did for his son. They also announced it each time that his son received an offer. That’s sort of the way it’s done.

          One of the school’s that is bringing the challenge thought it was ok to screw over one of their players last season. They first stashed him on the Freshman Not Frosh Soph team. Mind you he was one of the best freshman in the city. Then they put him off the team. His family decided that he should transfer. Now they are attempting to screw with his eligibility. This is a kid that wasn’t on the team at the time of the transfer. When you begin to mess with the prospective futures of children to the point where you are the sole decider of said future then that’s a problem.

          It seems to be what’s going on here. So what if a child transfers for basketball reasons. Ayo left Westinghouse after his freshman year and it seems to have worked out fine for him and his family. Had he remained there is almost a certainty that he would not be attending Illinois. He’d have remained at an inferior basketball program and played a low level basketball. Weak schedule against inferior competition with very few college coaches coming in to recruit him. He’d have still been a college basketball player but the likelihood of him playing in the Big Ten would have been minimal. Now he has a very good chance of being a professional basketball player. Whether it is the NBA or otherwise he is assured of being paid to play the game that he loves. Which person in good conscience should ever think that prevention of that is necessarily a good idea?

          • Hoops Samurai

            I just thanked Nick Saban for offering me a scholarship on twitter. I’m 5’10” 250lbs and have no eligibility. You have no way of verifying the offer. I’d like to thank the cashier at McDonald’s for helping me with my nutrition, my day job for keeping me busy enough that I don’t want to go to the gym and stay in shape, and I’d like to thank my AAU coaches for this tremendous opportunity. (Because if it happens online it must be real….)

            Care to tell me how it works again in real life?

  • Phil Smith

    Back when I Coached at Crane Tech, Josephinum’s Coach recruited one of my player’s at a Summer League game, so I don’t want to hear about the Catholic School’s crying about anything, back in the day Catholic School’s offered full scholarships, now they don’t, also AAU basketball is gigantic now, you get recruiting heavier in the summer than playing high school ball

    • DIVA

      Agreed!!! The Red-West was dominated with great players that catholic schools tried to recruit. I also remember Larry Jackson who came from Oak Park to Farragut being red shirted because of his transfer due to the coat at OPRF being upset he left.

  • One Love

    If we teaching our young men and women to be adults what’s wrong with the mm leaving a program if they don’t want to be there anymore. Just as adults leave jobs for better paying ones or that offers a better challenge

  • Hoop Dreams

    All of these kids transferring back and forth to different school just to play high school basketball is ridiculous and CPS allows this foolishness. Meanwhile, these schools are using these kids and not preparing them academically for the college level. After these kids win the these basketball powerhouses championships and it’s time to move to the next level (college) most of their ACT scores are lower than their shoes sizes. Such a shame!!! HOOP DREAMS…

    • Derrickbrooks

      All 4 of boys have scored over a 20 on their ACT and have an above average 3.0 gpa lol hahaaha sooo 🤷🏾‍♂️

    • Linda

      You are so right. Even if a player is a superstar all it takes is one injury and you could be done. Why isn’t education the top priority?

  • Duke Carnoustie

    I remember back when admission was free to these games. Now it costs $15-20 to see some matchups. Remember back when St. George High School was around it was always free to watch the games. You young people probably don’t remember St. George. The moment they started charging admission it all went downhill. I know I have been boycotting the IHSA finals since they went to four classes.

  • gary dangerfield

    Did anyone stop to think about the cost of attending a private school? In some cases, its more about economics(see Hoop Dreams) then recruiting players away from their current schools. If a player and his family decide their current school is no longer a good fit, why should they be forced to endure a negative situation. Just a thought!

    • RealityCheck

      Because the same isn’t true in reverse. If a kid and his parents transfer to a private school they have to sit out for an entire school year… Even if the school is safer and academically superior.

      • Tsamp

        Private schools have always been able to recruit any kid with no boundaries please stop being bias and delusional. And you don’t necessarily have to sit out if you transfer from public to private. Second everyone has a right to a free education by law, so if someone can no longer afford tuition and transfer to a public school they shouldn’t have to sit out of extra curricular activities. And yes since it’s basketball in which there are mostly African-American athletes there is always an out cry because the almost overwhelming white private institutions can not feel the stands with some of the great athletes in which outside of sports they care nothing about

        • Oschino

          Catholic school tuition is way to expensive for most of these African American kids anyways. St
          Pat’s wants $800 a month from families that live in the Austin SMH. These parents are doing whts best for their children.

      • Terry

        The rules apply across the board. I recall a student-athlete transferring from Morgan Park HS (CPS) to St. Rita and immediately played. He don’t recall his name. The kid played on the team that included Charles Matthews. There was no complaints by the AD at Morgan Park or head coach. I believe the Catholic league coaches are complaining because they appear to be on the losing side. However, the Catholic league has historically held a monopoly on Chicago kids in baseball and football. Now, with Phillips building a reputable program, I’m sure they will be complaining about them.

    • Shake

      So go to your neighborhood school not a school in Chicago if u live in the sururbs

  • RealityCheck

    Finally someone is reporting on this issue. Thanks Michael. This is something that needs to be fixed for the kids sake.

  • mikenike

    Just like Hoop Dreams — oh, wait.

  • Black

    If a player decides to leave a school for another program, they should be allowed to do so. If the players in question, were players on the bench, who don’t play much, would they be asking for investigations?

    • RealityCheck

      The problem is that there are different rules for private schools. If a kid and his parents decide it would be best to transfer to a private school, he or she gets penalized by having to sit out an entire year. If a kid transfers from a private school to a comparately less safe and less academically strong public school, they get to play right away. Nonboundary schools like Simeon can recruit players from anywhere, so why are they not held to the same rules??

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