Judge: Student ineligible for Mooseheart basketball team
By Rick Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org February 28, 2014 5:51PM
Updated: March 2, 2014 7:51PM
A Kane County judge denied the request for a temporary restraining order to allow a Mooseheart student from Congo the chance to play basketball for the school.
Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Akemann made the decision Friday afternoon.
Eighteen-year-old Mooseheart student Roderigue ‘Ceda’ Makindu was hoping to take to the basketball court for the first time this season as his teammates played in Friday evening’s Class 1A Somonauk Regional basketball final against Newark.
Mooseheart won in a close one, 25-22.
Akemann Thursday heard a complaint in Kane County court, filed the day before on Makindu’s behalf by Aurora attorney Judd Lofchie, against the Illinois High School Association concerning Makindu’s eligibility.
It contended the organization improperly amended a bylaw last year that led to the Congo native and as many as 125 other international students across the state being ruled ineligible for athletic participation since they are not part of an approved student exchange program.
Lofchie decided to take up Makindu’s case after reading about his situation in a Beacon-News story on Jan. 16. Plano Athletic Director Jim Schmidt helped bring the youngster to America in 2012 after Makindu reached out for help via email two years earlier, seeking to leave his civil war-torn country to pursue educational opportunities here.
Lofchie was seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow Makindu, who has practiced with the team all year, to play.
Lisle attorney David Bressler, who was joined by IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman in court, filed a 30-plus-page response. Akemann notified the parties Friday by fax of his decision on the temporary restraining order after taking time to review the IHSA response.
In his decision, Akemann wrote that “the court is aware of the highly emotional issues that surround playing in the ‘tournament.’ In essense, plaintiff’s motion for a (restraining order) seeks to mandate IHSA, mid-tournament, to apply a different set of eligibility requirements than were set out over a year ago.
“This could easily have the effect of producing a chaotic environment to the defendant and its member schools and their students.”