SOUTHPORT — The Southport High School boys basketball coach spoke Tuesday about the controversy involving a foreign student.
The team was kicked out of next year's state tournament and penalized by the Indiana High School Athletic Association after an alleged money move by the coach.
Coach Eric Brand says he is fighting the decision by IHSAA.
IHSAA is accusing him of breaking the rules by raising nearly $6,000 to help a student from Congo stay at Southport High School legally.
"I did not know what I was doing was wrong," Brand said. "I was transparent with my superiors the whole time."
Brand does not deny he signed the check, which is why the school says it's explaining their actions and appealing the decision.
"The only way I knew how to help him was to help raise this money and I went to the board and said 'can we help this young man?'" Brand said.
According to Perry Township, the student wound up in the district after he was brought to American and enrolled by a man posing as a coach, with no connection to Southport High School.
"I can tell you the man who brought him over here shopped him around to many AAU programs," Brand said.
Even with the proper visa, the student wouldn't have been able to play on the varsity basketball team. The school says this is why its having a hard time understanding IHSAA's penalty.
On Dec. 4, a closed door hearing is scheduled for the high school to make its case.
The IHSAA review committee will then have up to 10 days to release its decision. Administrators at Southport High School can take the sanctioning body to court if they don't like the outcome.