CHICAGO — The father of a football player is accused of influencing the outcome of a recent football game in favor of Nazareth Academy and is at the center of a lawsuit filed by groups associated with Simeon Career Academy against the Illinois High School Association.
The Simeon Alumni Association, the Blue Machine (the Simeon football team’s booster club) and a handful of parents filed the lawsuit Friday against the Bloomington-based IHSA in Cook County Circuit Court, less than a week after the Chicago team lost a Class 7A quarterfinal, 34-27, to Nazareth, a Catholic school in La Grange Park.
IHSA assistant executive director Matt Troha said Monday the association did not have a comment. Though it was aware of media reports about the lawsuit, the IHSA had not yet received notification about it.
Nazareth went on to defeat Batavia 47-28 in last Saturday's semifinals and is scheduled to meet St. Charles North in the 7A state title game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The lawsuit alleges a parent of a Nazareth player wore his referee uniform and was involved in calls the referee crew made though he was not officiating the Nov. 10 game. The father was also seen alongside referees in an area where only officials are supposed to be.
On Facebook, the father responded to criticism of being involved in the game by saying, “I did what was needed to make sure Naz won,” according to screenshots included in the lawsuit.
In another comment, the father tells someone, “I didn’t make one bad call. I made sure the best team won.”
The groups filing the lawsuit on behalf of Simeon argue the father’s conduct adds up to a breach of IHSA rules and bylaws. They are asking that the winner of the game be stricken and no winner be declared.
They are also asking that the father and other referees who were present Nov. 10 no longer be allowed to officiate any games. Troha did not respond to questions about whether the father or other referees remained employed by the IHSA.