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IHSA rules Mooseheart students from Sudan are eligible to play on team

Mooseheart's Makur Puou towers over Hinckley-Big Rock defenders Zach Michels Andrew Klambauer during Dec. 5 game. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times

Mooseheart's Makur Puou towers over Hinckley-Big Rock defenders Zach Michels and Andrew Klambauer during a Dec. 5 game. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 12, 2013 6:23AM

Play on, officials told four Sudanese students at Mooseheart on Monday.

Hearing from the youngsters — including basketball players Akim Nyang, Makur Puou and Mangisto Deng — was probably the key factor in persuading the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors to unanimously reverse Executive Director Marty Hickman’s November ruling declaring them ineligible to play sports.

Last week, Mooseheart officials sought and received a temporary restraining order lifting that ruling in Kane County court.

“It was really good to hear from the young men themselves,” Hickman said in a teleconference after the hearing and vote by the board, composed of Illinois high school principals.

“I have no problem” with the reversal, Hickman said. “I think we have a great process. We learned some things we didn’t know earlier and had actually asked to talk with them earlier but the school didn’t provide them to us.”

All four students came to Mooseheart in 2011 and sat out a year as directed by IHSA officials before originally becoming eligible.

Rick Armstrong, Sun-Times Media

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