Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Executive Director Marty Hickman ruled on October 26 that Rochester High School will forfeit its September 6 football victory over Sacred Heart Griffin High School (38-33). When the IHSA releases the football playoff pairings this evening, Rochester will be seeded based upon an 8-1 record and Sacred Heart Griffin a 9-0 record.
The decision comes one day after Rochester self-reported IHSA Amateurism By-law (3.080) violations by members of its football team. The individuals had participated in the first eight games of the season, but were withheld from the Week 9 contest (October 25) after the violations were discovered. As a result of the violations, the players were ineligible for the first eight contests.
“We followed past precedent for these types of situations,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “While it may be difficult to judge a defensive player’s impact on a game, upon reviewing information related to the Rochester/Sacred Heart Griffin game, it was apparent that one of the players had a significant influence on the game’s outcome. Based on the margins of victory, the Sacred Heart Griffin game was the only contest where I felt the outcome could have been different had those players not participated.”
Hickman restored the eligibility of the players for the postseason on October 26. He cited the school’s immediate self-report, disciplinary action and the internal audit processes that were put into place to help assure future compliance as factors that contributed to his ruling on the student-athletes’ eligibility.