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Curie's Cliff Alexander celebrates after the buzzer sounds, signaling their victory over Simeon for the Pontiac Holiday Tournament Championship. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Curie senior Cliff Alexander will have his chance to win a state championship.
The Condors were cleared to play in the Illinois High School Association state playoffs on Monday. Nine of Curie’s 12 players are eligible according to IHSA bylaws.
“We have received a letter from Chicago Public Schools indicating that they have nine players that are eligible and meet our previous semester rule,” IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said.
The IHSA requires athletes to have 25 credit hours of high school work in the previous semester and be doing passing work in at least 25 credit hours per week of the current semester.
According to sources, Alexander is one of the nine eligible players. However, two key starters, Josh and Joseph Stamps, are not eligible. Joseph Stamps averaged 15 points, six assists and five rebounds this season. He scored a game-high 24 in the city championship game against Young.
The Condors, the Sun-Times’ No. 1 team, will face the winner of Monday’s DuSable-Argo game in a Class 4A regional semifinal on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at King. They will also be without head coach Mike Oliver, who has been suspended indefinitely by the CPS schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
Curie was stripped of its 24 regular-season victories and city championship Feb. 28 after a CPS investigation revealed that seven basketball players were ineligible since the beginning of the season. CPS said that the players would have been eligible if the proper forms were filed with the CPS office.
To play sports, CPS students have to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average or be in an “individual study plan” and have a form certifying that.
On Friday, CPS claimed Curie would be eligible for the state playoffs, but the IHSA said they would need the weekend to review the case.
In a statement released Monday, the IHSA said they asked CPS administration to verify each player’s adherence to the IHSA Academic Eligibility By-laws. CPS confirmed that nine team members complied and are eligible to compete.
A petition posted on change.org Monday called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Byrd-Bennett to re-evaluate the decision to strip Curie of the city title.
The petition claims that “The Chicago Public Schools Administration used the biggest game on the city’s largest stage as the backdrop to humiliate, destroy the dignity, honor and integrity of Curie students, coaches and supporters. CPS has used its army of lawyers and high level administration to intimidate while shifting blame and penalties to the student-athletes.”
The petition had more than 1,100 signatures on Monday.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson released a statement Monday through Rainbow Push claiming that the CPS’ actions in stripping Curie of the city title were “disgusting” and “unfair punishment of students for adult misconduct.”