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Curie players celebrated their Public League final win over Young on Friday. But the program is now being investigated for using ineligible players. | Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times Media
A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson confirmed Sunday that Curie is being investigated for possibly using ineligible players in the city championship game Friday.
According to Curie coach Mike Oliver, CPS was aware of the possible infraction before the title game began, but allowed the Condors to play. Curie beat Young in four overtimes.
“It’s an embarrassment if they try and take this back,” Oliver said. “It makes the city of Chicago and Young look like sore losers. [At 3 p.m.] they are asking about eligibility. But if they cancel the game they have to give back almost $60,000. So they let us play the game, get the money and then make us forfeit? That isn’t right.”
Oliver and his team arrived several hours late to Chicago State. They were waiting at Curie, unable to board the bus. Phillip Perry, Curie’s principal, told Oliver that the team had to wait because CPS Law Department had asked for Curie’s roster. Perry said someone called the CPS claiming Curie had ineligible players.
“The kids kept asking ‘Why haven’t we left?' '' Oliver said. “They wanted to get there and see the sophomore title game (at 4:30). At 5:00 the team started getting pretty worried. They knew we didn’t have enough time to get to the game, get dressed and warmed up. This was the city title game, there is a lot going on. At 5:30 [Perry] came in and said ‘Go to the game, we will deal with this on Monday.' ''
At 6:50, before Curie even arrived at Chicago State, Young coach Tyrone Slaughter was told to have his team take the court.
“I didn’t know what was going on exactly, what the particulars of the investigation were,” Slaughter said. “We knew it was something more than just them being late.”
Oliver said Young principal Joyce Kenner approached him after the game and told him Young had nothing to do with the investigation.
“We’re just trying to be happy right now,” Oliver said. “We are going to school tomorrow as the city champs. We can’t control if they want to take it away.”
The Illinois High School Association will have to determine if Curie is eligible for the state playoffs, which begin next Monday. According to a statement, they are awaiting the results of the CPS investigation.
"The Chicago Public Schools Athletic Administration has been in touch with the IHSA regarding its investigation into Curie," said Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha. "We are awaiting the results of that investigation and will continue to work in conjunction with CPS officials moving forward."