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All the stars are ready to play in the Chicago Elite Classic Saturday.
The Illinois High School Association announced Friday that Curie's Cliff Alexander will be allowed to play Saturday against Bishop Gorman from Las Vegas.
Alexander received two technicals and was ejected from Curie's game against St. Rita on Sunday. Per IHSA rules that meant he had to sit out Curie's next game. At the time that game was Friday at the Marshall County Shootout. Due to the bad weather throughout the Midwest, the Marshall County Shootout canceled Curie's game on Thursday.
That meant Alexander would have to sit out the Chicago Elite Classic.
“We have a good relationship with the Sports Administration at Chicago Public Schools and have been having discussions with [Director of CPS Sports Administration] Thomas Trotter since the cancellation occurred,” IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a release. “I acknowledge that the student-athlete would have fulfilled the by-law requirement on Friday and been eligible to play Saturday if not for these unique circumstances with the weather. Clearly, the school and the student have no control over the weather.”
So Alexander is cleared to play in the Chicago Elite Classic on Saturday and will have to sit out Curie's game in Michigan on Jan. 4.
“After reaching a decision regarding Saturday’s game, the next step was determining when the suspension would be served,” Hickman said. “Thomas [Trotter] and I concurred that the suspension needed to occur during a contest that was comparable with Friday’s game, which is how we settled on the January 4 game.”
Curie coach Mike Oliver had proposed that Alexander serve the suspension at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament or in the Condors' first IHSA playoff game, but the IHSA did not sign off on either of those plans.
Curie scheduled a game with Farragut for Friday when school officials learned the Condors' appearance at the Marshall County Hoopfest was canceled. But that game was postponed after the compromise was reached with the IHSA to allow Alexander to play on Saturday.
“We were asked about his ability to participate this weekend if the school was able to add a game against Farragut to its schedule this week,” Hickman said. “The by-laws do not allow for that to occur, so while the school could schedule that contest, the student-athlete in question would not have been eligible for it, nor would it have fulfilled the penalty and provided eligibility for this weekend.”
Now Curie's attention turns to the CEC.
"We have a big game this weekend and we need to focus on that," Oliver said. "I just want to move on. I appreciate all the support and encouragement we got surrounding this matter."
Trotter also was satisfied with the outcome.
"We all agreed that the suspension that Cliff received was merited," he said. "But so many other extenuating factors came into play after the fact that changed the dynamics of the situation and it just got out of hand. I am glad we were able to come to a viable solution that is reasonable to all concerned."
Alexander is just glad to be playing again.
"I never thought this would turn into something this big," he said. "I learned a big lesson on keeping my composure. I just appreciate the way my coaches and team have had my back. This has made us even closer as a team."
Young principal Joyce Kenner, who helped to broker the agreement between the IHSA and Curie, also is happy with the result.
"We are all ecstatic that CPS could work together with the IHSA to come to a resolution and Chicago will have one of its top players representing his city in a great event like the CEC," Kenner said.
Contributing: Clyde Travis