Seton Academy is cooperating fully with the Illinois High School Association following the events at the Class 2A game Saturday against Harrisburg, which the IHSA said crossed the lines of acceptable sportsmanship.
Any disciplinary action against either school is on hold for now, pending a further investigation, IHSA spokesman Matt Troha and Seton athletic director Deon Tolliver confirmed on Monday.
Troha said the situation will be reviewed at the IHSA board’s regular March meeting, which is scheduled for this weekend. One or both schools could be subjected to IHSA penalties such as probation or coaches being suspended for part of next season.
“I think right now nothing has been ruled out at this point,” Troha said.
The Sting forfeited the second-place trophy after losing 50-44 to Harrisburg in Saturday's Class 2A title game when coach Brandon Thomas took his team off the floor after they received their medals. It was the first such move in IHSA history. Seton's Mark Weems Jr. was ejected in the second quarter of the game.
"It was a complex situation and we believe it will be understood better when the full context is heard," Seton principal Marianne Lynch said in a statement issued by the school. "Seton's mission is to develop the spiritual, academic, moral and social aspects of all our students. We are committed to upholding these values, and are taking this matter seriously."
Seton coach Brandon Thomas offered an apology in a statement as well.
"I would like to offer an apology for my actions following the 2A State Championship game on Saturday," Thomas said. "While my actions may have given the appearance of poor sportsmanship, it was not my intent. I am truly saddened that this situation occurred and that it has diminished the hard work and effort put forth by our young men and that of the school administrators and coaches who supported us throughout the season."
Harrisburg athletic director Jay Thompson said he had indeed talked to IHSA officials Monday.
“It’s pretty much on hold,” he said. “They’ve instructed us to answer a few questions and report back to them this week.”
Thompson said he has not been in contact with anyone from Seton Academy.
Troha said those statements were not made to the organization.
Harrisburg superintendent Dennis Smith issued his own statement late Monday afternoon.
“Harrisburg School District takes strong exception to any implication that the Harrisburg High School state championship team or coaches displayed unsportsmanlike conduct or promoted behaviors counterproductive to fair play and competition,” Smith said. “It was an intense state tournament championship game. Emotions were high. The officials in charge of the game issued warnings and technical fouls as necessary.
“We were not perfect. What happened on the court could have happened in any of the thousands of games that make up a single high school basketball season. But after careful review, the district is convinced that Harrisburg players, coaches and fans were not part of any behavior that would rise to a public scolding by the IHSA.”
Any decisions made at Saturday’s board meeting would likely be made public next week.
Times staff writers Mike Nieto and Laura Lane and The Southern Illinoisian writer Les Winkeler contributed to this report.