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Hammond Morton Football Placed on Probation for “Undue Influence”


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https://www.heraldbulletin.com/sports/national_sports/morton-football-placed-on-probation-by-ihsaa/article_12f5f984-cbd5-55c7-96aa-55b4cd3cc77c.html
 

Morton football placed on probation by IHSAA

Aug. 26—HAMMOND — Morton's football program has been placed on probation until next summer and an assistant coach has been suspended for six weeks by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

The IHSAA said in a news release that an assistant coach "sent text messages with specific intent to influence student-athletes from another member school to attend Hammond Morton and play football."

Assistant coach Henry Johnson was was suspended for the first six weeks of the season per the recommendation of Morton's administration, the IHSAA said. Johnson is not allowed to scout opponents during the suspension and he is on probation until summer 2023.

Further violations will lead to Johnson's coaching accreditation to be revoked, according to the release.

"This probation is a severe type of warning," the IHSAA said in the release. "It is official notice that unacceptable and serious violations have occurred, are a matter of record and future incidents may result in the team being suspended from future IHSAA Football Tournaments."

In addition to the program being placed on probation and Johnson being suspended, the program was given a warning and head coach Mac Mishler was reprimanded for allowing two players to participate in summer workouts without completing the first section of the IHSAA transfer report.

"This warning is notice that an IHSAA member-school rule violation has occurred and shall not be repeated," the IHSAA said.

Under IHSAA by-laws, opponents may opt out of games against schools that violate the rule on undue influence.

Morton athletic director Sean Kinsey said Thursday night no opponents have submitted notification of their intent not to play the Governors.

"We went through the process with the IHSAA and we don't have a comment at this time," Kinsey said. "We accept the consequence."

Morton opened its season with a 46-27 road loss to Portage last Friday and hosts Hanover Central at 7 p.m. Friday in its home opener.

Mishler is 4-8 in his third season at the helm of the Governors, who were 3-1 in 2020 and 1-6 last year.

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When we (Ev Memorial) were suspended from post-season play in the early 90s for recruiting, the IHSAA allowed incoming seniors to transfer to another school without any loss of eligibility.  None did.

However, several of them said they were approached by one or more opposing coaches about transferring to their schools.

I thought that kinda summed it up pretty well.  It’s not a question of who’s crooked, it’s a question of who gets targeted and caught.  And I’ve never considered the IHSAA an honest referee for any of that.

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12 minutes ago, MHSTigerFan said:

When we (Ev Memorial) were suspended from post-season play in the early 90s for recruiting, the IHSAA allowed incoming seniors to transfer to another school without any loss of eligibility.  None did.

However, several of them said they were approached by one or more opposing coaches about transferring to their schools.

I thought that kinda summed it up pretty well.  It’s not a question of who’s crooked, it’s a question of who gets targeted and caught.  And I’ve never considered the IHSAA an honest referee for any of that.

We had a player get switched positions and adjoining school district schools approached him to play his original position.  It must have been the way the words flowed from the mouths or that his parents stayed silent...

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4 minutes ago, Bobref said:

In these days of open enrollment, why are there eligibility restrictions on transfers?

Well, I agree.

But somebody linked an Indy Star piece here a while ago about the IHSAA and their former attorney who got in hot water and eventually resigned.  In that piece, I believe it was Neidig quoted about using that rule to prevent certain schools from getting the good athletes and certain other ones from getting depleted.

I guess where the kid wants to go to school was, at best, a secondary concern to them.

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24 minutes ago, MHSTigerFan said:

using that rule to prevent certain schools from getting the good athletes and certain other ones from getting depleted

I’m sure no one needs me to point out the obvious inconsistencies if, indeed, the rule is being used to “level the playing field.”

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1 hour ago, Bobref said:

In these days of open enrollment, why are there eligibility restrictions on transfers?

Because you’re going to end up with kids playing for 4 different schools in 4 different years if kids are able to freely transfer without eligibility restrictions. And to that point I would think you’d see tampering on a whole different level.

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17 minutes ago, Footballking16 said:

Because you’re going to end up with kids playing for 4 different schools in 4 different years if kids are able to freely transfer without eligibility restrictions. And to that point I would think you’d see tampering on a whole different level.

If that’s what the kid wants to do, why shouldn’t he be able to do that?

And it’s only “tampering” if you define it as such. If my kid is a math whiz, why shouldn’t he be able to go to high school A, which has a great math teacher? And if that math teacher switches to another school, why shouldn’t my kid be able to follow him/her?

One of the rationales for open enrollment was that schools would end up competing with one another for students. As a result, they would have to step up their game to compete successfully, and the students would benefit. Why do we always think athletics should be immune to that type of reasoning?
 

 

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2 minutes ago, Bobref said:

If that’s what the kid wants to do, why shouldn’t he be able to do that?

And it’s only “tampering” if you define it as such. If my kid is a math whiz, why shouldn’t he be able to go to high school A, which has a great math teacher? And if that math teacher switches to another school, why shouldn’t my kid be able to follow him/her?

One of the rationales for open enrollment was that schools would end up competing with one another for students. As a result, they would have to step up their game to compete successfully, and the students would benefit. Why do we always think athletics should be immune to that type of reasoning?
 

 

A kid can go wherever he wants. 

But a school cannot openly recruit students to play sports. Some walk right up to (and, honestly, obliterate) that line by hiring travel sports coaches whose players seem to just happen to transfer to that school (or people with connections to certain travel sports programs who act as "feeders" for those programs, but you cannot reach out to people to try to get them to transfer for athletic-related reasons. 

I've heard of schools skirting this by having the parents (so therefore, no official school personnel) reach out to promising middle schoolers at area schools. About 20 years ago, I got a phone call from the athletic secretary of a school fuming because she got a phone call from the parents at a local private school who were trying to sell them on the benefits of an education and the athletic experience at that school (her response: "I'm a school athletic department staffer, I know the rules, you're recruiting, but trying to get around it by having the parents contact me. And no, we're not going anywhere else." 

They can move on their own - and I coached kids in middle school whose parents were clearly shopping them around to every private school in the area - but coaches and school personnel cannot try to entice someone to leave their current school to attend yours. 

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9 minutes ago, Bobref said:

If that’s what the kid wants to do, why shouldn’t he be able to do that?

And it’s only “tampering” if you define it as such. If my kid is a math whiz, why shouldn’t he be able to go to high school A, which has a great math teacher? And if that math teacher switches to another school, why shouldn’t my kid be able to follow him/her?

One of the rationales for open enrollment was that schools would end up competing with one another for students. As a result, they would have to step up their game to compete successfully, and the students would benefit. Why do we always think athletics should be immune to that type of reasoning?
 

 

Because Bob...there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. 

This is comical that this ONE SCHOOL gets called out by the IHSAA when we all know it is happening all over the place. 

4 minutes ago, crimsonace1 said:

A kid can go wherever he wants. 

But a school cannot openly recruit students to play sports. Some walk right up to (and, honestly, obliterate) that line by hiring travel sports coaches whose players seem to just happen to transfer to that school (or people with connections to certain travel sports programs who act as "feeders" for those programs, but you cannot reach out to people to try to get them to transfer for athletic-related reasons. 

I've heard of schools skirting this by having the parents (so therefore, no official school personnel) reach out to promising middle schoolers at area schools. About 20 years ago, I got a phone call from the athletic secretary of a school fuming because she got a phone call from the parents at a local private school who were trying to sell them on the benefits of an education and the athletic experience at that school (her response: "I'm a school athletic department staffer, I know the rules, you're recruiting, but trying to get around it by having the parents contact me. And no, we're not going anywhere else." 

They can move on their own - and I coached kids in middle school whose parents were clearly shopping them around to every private school in the area - but coaches and school personnel cannot try to entice someone to leave their current school to attend yours. 

Sounds like I've heard of this somewhere before also...

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23 minutes ago, crimsonace1 said:

and I coached kids in middle school whose parents were clearly shopping them around to every private school in the area - but coaches and school personnel cannot try to entice someone to leave their current school to attend yours. 

It's not just private schools.  There was a parent in this area that shopped his kid around pretty much from the time the kid was junior high.  If I recall correctly from the various folks in the know, he'd looked into 2-3 junior highs and at least 4 high schools.  

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College is expensive. It makes sense for a parent to shop around their OMG! Athlete child to a school/program that will give them the most exposure, and a chance at an athletic scholarship.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Bobref said:

If that’s what the kid wants to do, why shouldn’t he be able to do that?

And it’s only “tampering” if you define it as such. If my kid is a math whiz, why shouldn’t he be able to go to high school A, which has a great math teacher? And if that math teacher switches to another school, why shouldn’t my kid be able to follow him/her?

One of the rationales for open enrollment was that schools would end up competing with one another for students. As a result, they would have to step up their game to compete successfully, and the students would benefit. Why do we always think athletics should be immune to that type of reasoning?
 

 

Do you honestly think that a 14-17 year old kid wakes up once a year and decides to transfer from high school to high school four different times without their being some kind of “undue influence” (tampering) going along somewhere? 
 

There’s no rule that states a student can’t transfer 4 different times. But there needs to be some kind of precedent set that transferring to 4 different high schools in 4 years should be met with some kind of eligibility restriction. 

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9 hours ago, Footballking16 said:

Because you’re going to end up with kids playing for 4 different schools in 4 different years if kids are able to freely transfer without eligibility restrictions. And to that point I would think you’d see tampering on a whole different level.

That happens in South Bend alot

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1 hour ago, Footballking16 said:

Do you honestly think that a 14-17 year old kid wakes up once a year and decides to transfer from high school to high school four different times without their being some kind of “undue influence” (tampering) going along somewhere? 
 

There’s no rule that states a student can’t transfer 4 different times. But there needs to be some kind of precedent set that transferring to 4 different high schools in 4 years should be met with some kind of eligibility restriction. 

I understand that could happen. What I don’t understand is why that’s bad.

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14 hours ago, Bobref said:

In these days of open enrollment, why are there eligibility restrictions on transfers?

I agree.  Some schools sign off and otehrs do not.  Kids should be able to play where they move to without penalty.  Not sure how it works in SB when a kid moves from one h.s. to another

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6 hours ago, Bobref said:

I understand that could happen. What I don’t understand is why that’s bad.

Because what kind of life lesson does that teach? Pack up and move at the first sign of adversity? That’s a terrible thing to allow and if the IHSAA sets a precedent going forward that no transfer will affect varsity eligibility, it’s going to get out of hand. Like it’s already impacted the college game, there will be tons of unintended consequences.

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4 hours ago, Footballking16 said:

Because what kind of life lesson does that teach? Pack up and move at the first sign of adversity?

Or perhaps it teaches them to recognize and take advantage of opportunities to better themselves.

 

4 hours ago, Footballking16 said:

That’s a terrible thing to allow and if the IHSAA sets a precedent going forward that no transfer will affect varsity eligibility, it’s going to get out of hand.

Agreed. We can’t have all these kids going to school wherever they and their parents think is the best place for them. Athletic competitive balance is much more important.

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15 minutes ago, Bobref said:

Or perhaps it teaches them to recognize and take advantage of opportunities to better themselves.

If you’re at your 4th school in 4 years that says everything about you and not the opportunity.

 

16 minutes ago, Bobref said:

Agreed. We can’t have all these kids going to school wherever they and their parents think is the best place for them. Athletic competitive balance is much more important.

Anyone is free to chose whatever high school they want, haven’t argued otherwise. But it should come with a caveat, you transfer schools for athletic purposes, you lose varsity eligibility for 365 days.

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1 minute ago, Footballking16 said:

If you’re at your 4th school in 4 years that says everything about you and not the opportunity.

 

Anyone is free to chose whatever high school they want, haven’t argued otherwise. But it should come with a caveat, you transfer schools for athletic purposes, you lose varsity eligibility for 365 days.

Agree to disagree.

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I can see kids moving because they do not like the coach or do not want to play for the new coach.  Open enrollment is that.  Free to choose.  Close to 1000 kids from SB schools are in the Mishawaka and Penn districts based on information gathered.

I invisiono more and more of this as it becomes wanting to play for a winner.  Be part of a beter program to be recognized.  And I wonder how many parents feel their kid is not getting a fair shake or the bast chance?  

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