Emergency motion denied, football state finals will be played this weekend

Simeon's Derek Flowers (9) runs hard. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.
Simeon's Derek Flowers (9) runs hard. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

A Cook County Circuit judge has denied an emergency motion order to hear the Simeon Alumni Association’s case against the Illinois High School Association.

“The judge believed there wasn’t an emergency,” Shay Allen, an attorney for the Simeon alumni said. “We are still going to pursue the injunction as soon as we can. We are going to argue it as a motion and not an emergency motion.”

That means there is no chance that the lawsuit will hold up this weekend’s state football finals in Champaign.

The Simeon Alumni Association and parents of Simeon football players sued the Illinois High School Association on Friday. The lawsuit claims that a Nazareth parent dressed as a football official, stood on the sideline and influenced the referees in the Roadrunners’ 34-27 win against the Wolverines in the Class 7A state quarterfinals on Nov. 10.

Nazareth won in the semifinals last weekend and is scheduled to play St. Charles North in the state title game on Saturday in Champaign.

The lawsuit calls for the IHSA to strip Nazareth of the win and refrain from employing the officiating crew that worked the game.

The IHSA finally commented on Tuesday evening, breaking several days of silence.

“The IHSA declined to comment as we awaited the opportunity to exonerate the officials who worked the contest in open court,” Craig Anderson, the IHSA executive director said in a statement. “It now appears that no hearing will take place prior to this weekend’s state championship games.”

Anderson says the IHSA has investigated the matter and “has uncovered no impropriety on the part of the officials assigned to work the game as well as no influence over the referees by any individual in attendance. We look forward to providing more clarity on the situation following the resolution of the litigation.”

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  • LaVar Ball

    People want to moan about officiating when they don’t even have the guts to go out there and endure criticism themselves. Think about this…the average official makes about $85 for a varsity football game and $65 for a varsity basketball game. Obviously a bit less for the underclass games. On average, say it takes an hour to drive to the game, you are required to be there 45 minutes early, the game takes about 2 hours, and you have an hour to drive home. That’s between 4-5 hours of time, less if you are lucky and the game is close by! Take into consideration wear and tear on the car, gas, tolls, etc. and you are looking at ‘making’ about $12-15/hour. How many people out there want to put that much time in to a hobby just to be criticized? It’s just not worth it. Working at Walmart might be a better option. On the flip side, what quality of referee are you getting for that little amount of money? You’re only getting the type of person who thinks that little amount of money and lack of job satisfaction is worthwhile. If high schools were serious about getting better officials and the general public wanted better officials, then they need to be paid more, not less. More money will bring in larger numbers and hence better quality as the cream rises to the top. And for all the criticism heaped on these Naz/Simeon refs, just image that they were promoted to work this game, meaning they should be among the best. Stop complaining about the officials and become one if you are so smart.

  • Carla

    OK guys, the problem with this whole situation is that it has become a big game of “telephone”. No one has the facts straight. And the newspapers and television stations have only covered one side, not bothering to investigate the details before reporting them.
    1) We can all agree that the guy in question is a complete idiot and had no business being on the sidelines.
    2) HE IS NOT A REF WITHIN THE IHSA ORGANIZATION. Let’s get that clear. He is a youth football ref and has absolutely no influence over IHSA refs. Nor does IHSA have an jurisdiction over his actions.
    3) In the photos that Simeon is using in their court case, he is NOT guy in the strips. He is the guy with the black jacket and pants. He covered his stripes before going on the field. He is standing in the ref area, not the Naz sidelines.
    4) He was let on the field, despite not having any credentials, by the security staff at Gately. He did not come in with any of the Naz football staff. Any, there were people on the sidelines who did not belong there for both teams. And like he other people on the sidelines and like half of the parents in the stands, he was sideline coaching. He was not acting crazy or causing a commotion.
    5) He has never admitted in any interviews to influencing the outcome of the game. The whole Facebook thing is strange as his name is misspelled. Either he is a total idiot for misspelling it on his own Facebook page or whoever “created” the page is a total idiot for not checking the spelling.
    6) If the Facebook page is real and the guy was stupid enough to post those comments, the whole exchange has never been shown. We have not idea in what context things were said. Before we can evaluate what he said, we might want to see how the exchange started and if the was boasting, being sarcastic or just being an ass.
    7) Not one media outlet has taken the time to point out that questionable calls were made against both teams throughout the game. Watch the game and you will see. And the win was not taken away from Simeon. Even if the TD was good, it would have just tied the game. Even if they got more time on the clock, they still needed to get across the line. Football is an imperfect game. We can’t go back and second guess or create the perfect situation for every play and every team.
    8) While the guy is the stepdad of a Naz player, he does not represent Naz. The coaches and administration at Naz are not responsible for what he said on the sidelines or what he wrote on Facebook. The Naz AD probably should have booted him had he realized he was there. At the same time, Simeon could have requested that he be removed – they were in charge of the security team. Naz is not commenting because they have probably been advised not to say anything until the whole situation has been investigated. And they are preparing for a pretty big game this weekend.

    This is a sad situation made worse by parents on both sides who fail to understand that the game is for the kids, not the parents. It is also made worse by the media who perpetuate a story without including all the facts. Suntimes, I would love to see you run a follow up with all the details. In any case, both are great teams with great players and I hope they can rise above all of this nonsense and be better examples than the adults who caused all this chaos.

    • ESCC

      The goofball father is an IHSA official. He works mostly the lower level high school games and youth football.

      Being on the sideline and the Facebook actions, if it was him, are atrocious. However his actions doubtfully caused the on field officials to alter the game in favor of Nazareth. Best practice; avoid the appearance of impropriety.

    • CCLAlum08

      Stick to basketball simeon and leave the football and other sports to the burbs and and catholic schools lol

  • No Dogg In the Fight

    Take a look at this play in the Simeon LW West Game a week earlier. This was ruled a catch and they went on to score.


    • Jason

      It was clearly a catch, in high school. Kid caught the ball then was hit and flipped. When the kid landed the ball was jarred loose. In high school that is a catch. At other levels maybe not but in high school that was a catch.

  • No Dogg In the Fight

    Take a look at this play in the Simeon LW West Game a week earlier. This was ruled a catch and they went on to score.

  • Atty

    These allegations question the integrity of each official who worked that game. If the Simeon crew fails to prove its allegations they owe the officials an apology. However, I doubt one will be forthcoming.

  • CPS

    The ruling was predictable everyone knew that justice this day and age would have been a shocker, this was all about not letting this happen again, that cheating wasn’t even hidden, it was even bragged about and the IHSA ruling was just saying we’re still going to let this happen and turn a blind eye to it, just next time be a little more discreet about it suburban parents, refs, couches etc… please.

  • JC

    The father never admitted to ” doing what needed to be done so Naz would win ” Bogus facebook page. His name was even spelled wrong . Nice try

  • Diane Stremlau

    Why wasn’t the game stopped, the Dad escorted to the cheering section and if he refused removed from the property. This was a school related activity therefore the superintendent or board members should have enforced school rules. Hopefully this Dad will be banned from the state
    playoffs. This is not a Dad or community member to be proud of. Sorry for his son and family. What else or who else does he cheat ?

  • Roadrunner

    I’m ashamed of the display of that Nazareth parent and school officials. This idiot should not have been ALLOWED on the sidelines with the players, coaches and other authorized personnel!!! This is the 2nd major incident at Naz that the administration mishandled and or failed to acknowledge or own up too! The Blakely situation was the first now this. I’m a true believer of letting the kids play determine the outcome not referees or politics. Is this how we teach sportsmanship!

  • PistolPete44

    The IHSA father official may have tried to pursuade his fellow officials to throw the game. If so then provide the times in the game it happened and what was done. Just pointing fingers and claiming foul when you loose is pretty weak. The officials are not professionals and may have done a bad job. Not the first time an officials call or calls went the wrong way. The IHSA looks like it now has a big bunch of much smarter better officials who have been commenting on this story. Go sign up and show everyone how it should be done.

    • WP

      There is flim clips and outcomes to present from the game. …. they are ready. It’s time for parents and IHSA to step up and show some honor. This has been happening for decades

  • back seat driver

    It’s a disgrace. Look at the rules. The father broke SEVERAL of them. Apparently you can do whatever you want. IHSA should be ashamed of itself.

  • steveo

    A lot of ifs in this story. From what I read if a players father had on a referee shirt and was on the side line and if he said on Facebook that he did what he had to do for a victory. Were these allegations investigated? Is there any witnesses to these allegations?

  • Phil

    The next generation is doomed due to the so-called adults of this one. Congratulations Naz and IHSA- your mission statements, values and faith are all fake and only apply when it’s convenient for you. IHSA official / parent admitted to fixing the game. Film shows 2 key plays at end of game that were inaccurately called and where clearly the IHSA official / parent was involved. The IHSA official / parents kid #7 even caused a delay of game at end of game- no call. The fix was clearly in and parent ADMITTED IT. IHSA knew exactly what happened and sat on it for 10 days. Naz coaches knew about all of this and sat on it and never commented. Any head coach with any level of honor and dignity, who caught even a hint of what his IHSA official/ parent did, would immediately forfeit, profusely apologize and teach his team that winning in that way is wrong and that behavior will not be tolerated by anyone associated with the program- parent, player, scorekeeper or ANYONE. Instead, by doing nothing, the IHSA and Naz let taught them the exact opposite. There used to be a sense of honor that was a part of the game of football. Clearly that is long gone for both the IHSA and Naz. Coaches are responsible for who is on their sidelines. Naz coach knows exactly who is on his sideline. They don’t miss details like who they allow on the field- especially at an away game. Naz will win on Saturday & the IHSA has already exonerated all officials, themselves, Naz and anyone else of any wrongdoing. The same crew with the ISHA ref/ parent combo could be officiating the state game for Naz- STN. Nothing would surprise me now. Congratulations Naz and ISHA- you have no honor or dignity and lost a great opportunity to teach good from evil. You chose evil only to save your own face. Crown evil this weekend. How sad it is.

    • IHSA FB Fan

      I wouold love to know if you actually watched this game from start to finish. Considering the fact that the refs were making questionable calls against both teams the entire time; it’s extremely hard to argue that this Naz-related IHSA official swayed any of the officiating decisions. Was it very stupid of him to be on the sidelines of this game considering his position? Yes. Was he completely in the wrong for doing it? Yes.

      You mention that he admitted to being involved in “the fix” and I’m assuming that you’re referring to his posts on social media following the game. As dumb as Mercado is/was, I am fairly certain that his internet trolling (which, again, was arrogant and wrong) was something called a sarcastic joke.

  • Cameron

    Name the parent

  • CCLAlum08

    justice is serve

  • Steve

    Naz and IHSA: parent who is an IHSA official admitted to swaying game. Clear on video game was fixed at end. Any respectable coach would be entirely embarrassed and with any hint of any of this happening would immediately forfeit just knowing that one of his kids parents was involved like this let alone fix the game. Coaches are responsible for sideline personnel. Clearly Naz coaches knew what was going on. IHSA had the chance to do the right thing last week and didn’t. Congratulations everyone, you just taught both teams that your core values and mission statements of both Naz and IHSA mean nothing. The next generation is doomed due to people and institutions like you. Thank God there are a few people left with honor and dignity. Not at Naz or IHSA. How sad.

  • CKAY

    I’m afraid I’m not with the IHSA on this one. If there are not rules about Officials who are not involved in the game being present ( in uniform ) on the sidelines or anywhere near the field then there should be. If there are not rules about parents of players being on the sidelines then there should be. Years ago I was involved with traveling and high school teams and I know how unethical “parents” can be as regards officiating . And I am not so happy with the attitude of some high school officials that seemed very friendly with persons and coaches on the other team. I’m not saying that Nazareth should be voided their win. I’m saying the IHSA should take some major steps to avoid even the appearance of unfair officiating.

    • HSRef

      Simeon was the home team here and responsible for the field and control for who entered and for what reason. This is no in any of the so called “journalists” stories. How about asking that question to the sore losers. Why did you let him in? If I show up in a Ref Uniform, are you going to ask me my name and check a list?

      Also not reported is that the wing official who made the calls was not an original member of the crew assigned to the game. He was there for the game following this one and called on during the game when an official was injured.

      This guy who is not on any crew in the IHSA and only does youth football was allowed in by stadium security (CPS) and not checked by anyone. Nazareth should have had him escorted from their sidelines.

      Another fact not reported was the number of penalties called on each team. I would assume it is not a large difference.

      Poor sportsmanship and bad leadership all around. If you have to blame the officials, maybe you should look at how you played.

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