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SOUTHPORT, Ind.–The Southport boys basketball team initially was banned from competing in the boys basketball tournament, but now the IHSAA says they’ll be allowed to take part in it. 

It’s because the IHSAA and Southport have both come to an agreement that Southport boys basketball coach Eric Brand will be suspended from January 2020 through the end of the season. That includes the postseason. 

The IHSAA says this suspension will allow the team to compete in the playoffs this year. Initially, the school opted to suspend Brand for two games, so the IHSAA responded with a postseason ban for the team, which the school planned to appeal. 

With this new suspension for Brand, the appeal hearing that was scheduled for Tuesday was canceled. 

The IHSAA says Southport boys basketball coach Eric Brand paid more than $5,550 to cover the tuition of Nickens Paul Lemba, a student originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  They say Perry Township Schools accepted the tuition payment on behalf of Lemba in order to remain compliant with the U.S. law and meet requirements of an F-1 student.  

Lemba is still ineligible to play and the entire athletic department is still on probation. 

The IHSAA says Southport committed “violations of undue influence.” 




Audio titled WIBC's interview with IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox by John Herrick


A photo of a new ruling over the Southport basketball team by the IHSAA