- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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The IHSA has suspended Whitney Young boys basketball coach Tyrone Slaughter from all team events, including contact with players and coaches, until Feb. 14 after hosting a practice at Burr Ridge Middle School in Hinsdale on Nov. 12. The program also was put on probation until Jan. 1, 2012.
Slaughter will miss at least the first couple rounds of the Public League playoffs, which begin next week. The semifinals are set for Feb. 16, and the championship is on Feb. 18.
"We're disappointed about the ruling," Slaughter said. "We knew something would happen, but we didn't know what. It's the not the worst it could have been, and it's not the best it could have been. It's somewhere in the middle.
"First and foremost, I apologize to the Whitney Young family and Burr Ridge School. The intent wasn't what it's all turned out to be. When it's said and done, even in the [IHSA's] writing, there was no recruiting being taken place. The real problem, the real issue was the promotion of the school. It was probably not the best decision to have done that."
IHSA executive director Marty Hickman issued the following statement:
"This was not an event that came together at a moment's notice. Whitney Young's basketball program had ample time to seek clearance from its athletic administration, high school administration or from the IHSA. Had they done so, they would have been notified that a practice of this nature violates the IHSA Recruiting Bylaws, specifically 3.071 and 3.073.
"This practice violated the IHSA recruiting by-laws and would have done so even if none of the attendees were basketball players. The fact Whitney Young traveled some 20 miles from its campus to conduct a practice, with an audience which was made up almost exclusively of middle school basketball players was especially troubling. A school's administration can market its programs, but it has to be done in the overall context of the school's academic and extracurricular programs. This event was conducted by the coach and only provided the attendees with the opportunity to learn about Whitney Young's boys basketball program."
Slaughter wasn't concerned his team would have to play in the early rounds of the Public League playoffs without him.
"One of the things about our guys is they've been resilient over the years," Slaughter said. "Over the years, they've been able to bounce back. Our guys understand what's at stake and what they're playing for. We'll be fine. I'm just a small part of the process as it goes."
Whitney Young assistant coach Kevin Bush will take over for Slaughter in his absence.
This is the second time Slaughter has been suspended in his six seasons at Whitney Young. He was forced to miss the first six games of the 2008-2009 season due to violation of recruiting rules.
Slaughter has a 126-51 career record and has won one state championship. This year's team began No. 4 in ESPNChicago.com's preseason rankings, but has since fallen out of the poll with a 11-9 record.