BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) – A high school football team did not receive due process from the Illinois High School Association when it ruled that a player facing armed robbery charges was ineligible, a judge ruled. So St. Clair County Judge Richard Aguirre ordered East St. Louis High School back into the playoffs.
East St. Louis’s attorney Garrett Hoerner argued that the IHSA failed to give the school adequate notice of the evidence presented at the Oct. 26 hearing on Charles Tigue’s eligibility.
East St. Louis’s team, the Flyers, was a No. 1 seed after going 9-0, when the IHSA announced its playoff brackets on Oct. 23.
But during the Oct. 26 hearing the IHSA found that Tigue, who is facing two counts of armed robbery in St. Clair County Court, actually lived outside of the East St. Louis district.
That fact emerged from electronic monitoring results stemming from the criminal case.
The IHSA ruled that East St. Louis had to forfeit its first five wins this season and all of its wins last season. The left East St. Louis with a 4-5 record, ineligible for the playoffs.
Tigue, 17, has pleaded not guilty. His eligibility issues started after the Belleville News Democrat reported that he had been allowed by court order off of electronic monitoring to attend football events, football practices and an April prom in St. Louis. Tigue played the first five games this season for East St. Louis, but has been sidelined since the questions surrounding his eligibility surfaced.
Aguirre said during last week’s hearing that the IHSA can appeal to the Illinois state appeals court. The IHSA elected to allow the playoffs to start last weekend with East St. Louis, but still may appeal, the organization said in a statement.
If the IHSA appeals and wins, East St. Louis would have to forfeit the wins again, and would be booted from the playoffs.
East St. Louis beat Belleville West 41-10 in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.