Citing multiple violations, IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox suspended all of Bowman Academy's sports teams for two years from tournament play Friday and put the school's membership in the IHSAA on probation.
Cox and members of the IHSAA executive staff visited Bowman Academy on Monday to discuss multiple rules violations that have occurred over the last year plus.
If the school works to comply with the IHSAA it can stay in the association, Cox said. If not, time will tell.
"We've never had a member school commit this many violations in this short of a period of time," Cox said. "I've never seen anything like this."
The IHSAA listed multiple violations that occurred at the Gary charter school. They included: a student participating in a game who was not enrolled at the school, using an athlete whose high school eligibility had expired in several games and having another athlete play who provided false information in a transfer report to the IHSAA.
Another student on the boys basketball team was playing though he wasn't attending enough class hours in order to be eligible. Another player participated in games without filing a transfer report at all. Cox said another student has also been declared ineligible for playing without turning in a transfer report.
"They actually falsified a transfer report," Cox said.
Another player was ruled ineligible under the Past Link rule. Also, in a game against 21st Century, a player participated in more than five quarters in the JV and varsity games, which is against IHSAA rules. Bowman played a game against Pickerington Central in Ohio without signing a contract. The team also scheduled too many games for the boys basketball program, which is a violation.
Cox said all teams at the school were being punished because of the overall lack of institutional control by the school's administration and athletic department. Every coach at a member school is required to take two educational courses from the National Federation of State High School Associations, with the course on concussions being mandatory with the IHSAA and in compliance with Indiana state law.
Cox said in the research, only two coaches at Bowman had fulfilled this requirement.
"This is about the health and safety of these student athletes, too," Cox said.
Bowman will be allowed to play regular season games during the two-year suspension.
The school joined the IHSAA in 2006 and soon thereafter became a major player in boys basketball. Under then-coach and athletic director Marvin Rea, the Eagles won the 2010 Class A state championship, were Class 2A state runners-up in 2012, then returned the following year to win the 2A state crown.
In 2014 Bowman finished second at state in the Class 3A state tournament, but Rea was fired in 2015.
Migel Nunnery took over as the boys basketball coach and athletic director, but he was fired earlier this season for playing Dajoure Britt, who didn't attend the school.
Cox also noted that the boys basketball program has been put on probation two other times for violations and it came down to a situation of, "What else can we do?"
Cox also said that any juniors or seniors at the school who transferred in order to be able to play for a school that is in the IHSAA state tournaments wouldn't be allowed to because such a move would be for athletic reasons, which is not legal under IHSAA rules.
"We expect all of our schools to follow our rules," Cox said.
While every detail wasn't released, pretty much any team that has lost to Bowman this boys basketball season will earn a win because of all the forfeits. Bowman is expected to contact the schools.
"We openly admitted to the violations and started at the moment of discovery, working aggressively to correct the problems and implement systems to avoid reoccurrences," Bowman principal Sarita Stevens said in a release sent by the IHSAA. "We are determined to take Thea Bowman to a level of high integrity in all extra‐curricular programs offered to our students. This starts with building an athletic program that is student‐centered and held to all of the standards of IHSAA.”