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Friday, January 14, 2011
Maine So. on probation; Inserra suspended

By Scott Powers

The IHSA suspended Maine South head football coach David Inserra and assistant coach Rick Magsamen one game each to begin the 2011 season, and the program was placed on probation until Dec. 1, 2011 for actions during the Class 8A state championship game in November.

The probation includes Maine South not being able to host playoff games "until demonstrating compliance with IHSA playoff policies."

The IHSA will evaluate Maine South's compliance after a minimum of two playoff games.

"Part of that compliance will include the school submitting a plan to establish institutional control of the football program and a plan to improve sportsmanship by fans, coaches and players," the IHSA stated in its release.

"Maine South and District 207 regret the embarrassing incidents and rules violations that were outlined by the IHSA on November 29 and subsequently confirmed by the IHSA’s presentation of facts and by an internal investigation conducted by Maine South and District 207," the school said a statement Friday night.

Maine South was under investigation after the IHSA discovered the Hawks had created and distributed counterfeit sideline passes to the Class 8A state championship game. The IHSA also looked into the presence of alumni on the sidelines, incidents that occurred while stadium security attempted to remove those with fake passes and inappropriate behavior by Inserra at the awards ceremony following the game. The IHSA also received complaints against Maine South's behavior in other playoff games.

"There were a litany of indiscretions that took place at the state finals this year and that situation was compounded by issues that occurred at other playoff games," IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a statement on Friday. "That established a pattern of behavior in our minds and thus, it became important to look at the program as a whole. From a state final perspective, it was important for us to look at this not only from a safety and sportsmanship perspective, but also to gauge if Maine South had gained a competitive advantage by having more than the allowable number of coaches on the field and in the coaches press box.

"It was important that these penalties represented the seriousness of the actions. We wanted to make it clear that it couldn't just be an apology and then back to business as usual. Based on the talks and meeting we have had with Maine South since the state finals, I am confident that their administration and coaching staff have already taken steps in the right direction and are going to work diligently to prevent something like this from happening again. We appreciate the school and administration's cooperation and candor throughout this entire process and will work together to move beyond this."

A message left for Inserra was not returned immediately.