From dark days, the Proviso Township High Schools are working hard, working steadily to remake failed schools on a foundation of integrity. And that is why the eligibility and residency scandal for the rising Proviso East football team stings so much.
Seemingly on its way to the state playoffs, the Pirates’ hopes plummeted as the team was disqualified by the Illinois High School Association for multiple infractions on its roster. Two students on the roster were ruled ineligible. One was seemingly not a resident in the school district. The other had already played more consecutive semesters than the IHSA allows.
The school has made positive noises in response, offering its apologies and pledging a full internal investigation. That’s good. In a Tuesday interview with the Review, Brian Colbert, East’s athletic director, took responsibility for the unforced errors, offered his apologies to the other teams East played this season, and, particularly offered support to the football team’s players who accomplished so much and whose efforts have now been tainted.
Turning around a moribund football program happened because of the full squad not based on two ineligible players. But that success, the lessons hard work teaches young men, are wiped away by the IHSA’s inevitable decision.
We’ll wait to hear more from the school’s administration about how this happened, who was responsible and what internal steps will be taken going forward to ensure the eligibility of every player in every sport.