The Harrisburg school board responded defiantly in Tuesday night's meeting to sanctions imposed by the Illinois High School Association on Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Randy Smithpeters due to actions in the Illinois Class 2A championship game.
The IHSA announced sanctions against Smithpeters, Seton Academy Coach Brandon Thomas and game officials on April 10.
"Coach Smithpeters crossed the line early in the game with his actions toward the game officials," IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman, in the prepared release. "He should have been issued a technical foul during the first half for his blatant violation of coach's box rule. His behavior set a negative tone for the players and fans and contributed to a hostile environment that only grew worse during the first half."
The release also says Smithpeters set a negative tone by keeping a player in the game who received a technical foul and was so emotional he had to be restrained by teammates.
The sanctions against Smithpeters are:
- Harrisburg High School head basketball coach Randy Smithpeters may have no involvement (team contact, coaching, attending games) with Harrisburg or any other IHSA member school during postseason State Series basketball contests (Regionals, Sectionals, Super-Sectionals, State Finals) in 2013-14, unless he first successfully completes the NFHS Teaching and Modeling Behavior training program.
- Coach Smithpeters has been placed on probation for the 2013-14 school year.
School board President Tom DeNeal read the following official statement of the board:
"The press release by the IHSA following the Class 2A championship game March 9, 2013, was ill-informed and poorly worded. In an attempt to be politically correct the administration of IHSA made no attempt to assess the severity of the actions of each coach. To the statement made by Mr. Hickman that IHSA was disappointed and embarrassed by both teams and implied each team and each coach was equally at fault — we strongly disagree with that conclusion. Upon investigation of facts surrounding the game sanctions have be issued by IHSA. Again the administration of IHSA wants to be politically correct. The level of punishment each coach received is totally disproportionate to the actions taken by those coaches. The implication Coach Smithpeters' behavior was even remotely comparable to that of Coach Thompson's is absurd. The board of education will not require Coach Smithpeters to abide by IHSA sanctions. It will allow the coach, parents and players of next year's varsity boys basketball team to determine what course of action Coach Smithpeters should follow."