- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Seven high schools, including six from the Chicago area, were suspended from all state series by the IHSA on Thursday after their principals failed to attend an annual mandatory rules meeting for a second consecutive year.
The list includes Chicago-based schools Orr, Academy of Scholastic Achievement, Best Practice, Henry Ford Power House Charter and Las Casas, Christ Luther Academy in Plainfield and Rockford's Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
The principals missed the originally scheduled meeting in November and failed to show up for a pair of make-up meetings at the IHSA's office earlier this month.
"It is always disappointing when students are punished for the failure of adults to take care of responsibilities," IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said. "We value the time of the administrators at all of our member schools and want them to be in their buildings as much as possible. Thus, we wouldn't conduct these meetings if we didn't believe they were vital to educating our schools on recent and forthcoming rule changes, many of which directly impact how they maintain their compliance within the IHSA."
Orr's boys basketball team was one of the squads hit the hardest by the suspension. Orr was considered a Class 3A contender with Illinois recruit Mycheal Henry and Ball State recruit C.J. Jones.
Orr coach Lou Adams hoped there was a chance to fix the problem.
"We're requesting a special meeting," Adams said. "I don't think [our principal] knew about it. He's from Memphis. There are schools within schools here. We hope to rectify it now. I'm just the coach. I had no idea about it.
"We've worked so hard and want to go to state. We got a real chance to get to state."
Hickman said Orr hadn't set up a meeting as of 11 a.m. Thursday. He also said he'd be surprised if Orr hadn't received the IHSA's previous letters.
"Anything's possible, but we have well-documented history of notifications to the school about the situations," Hickman said. "It's the same place we sent the letter they would have just gotten. It's their responsibility to go to these meeting. We'll try to accommodate an additional meeting, but I can tell you that it's not set up or approved. Their situation is they're suspended, and they're not eligible to be in any varsity tournaments. That could change."
Messages left for Orr principal Jammie Poole Jr. and Best Practice principal Stephen Parker were not returned immediately.
The IHSA suspends seven schools for missing meetings.