The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 25, 2013

School ends a dream


Commercial-News

DANVILLE — As a proud Danville High School alumnus and former captain of the Danville Viking varsity football team, I am outraged, saddened and deeply disappointed by the actions taken by the school’s athletic department.

This past week it was reported by the Chicago Tribune that Donte Ingram, a former Danville Viking and native of Danville, is having his athletic eligibility revoked due to an enquiry done at the request of Danville High.

I have had the privilege of coaching and knowing Donte, and it is a travesty that DHS athletic director would take these steps to block a child from achieving his dream.

Not only is he an outstanding athlete, he is an outstanding student and an example of what we should hope more of this town’s youth would be.

His dream is to play Division I basketball and playing for one of the top-ranked high school teams in the nation provided him with a better opportunity than we could offer him here.

He has been the sixth man on one of the best teams in America, but while here he couldn’t even crack the starting lineup at season’s end on a Big 12 cellar dweller.

This should be a story of hope and promise, not a story being killed by an athletic director who has been given permission to do as he pleases by a principal and superintendent who appear to be more focused on their impending retirements.

Once again a story about the excellence of our youth has been overshadowed by B.J. Luke and as usual no one is willing to step up to the plate and say that this is wrong.

In the Tribune article, Luke stated he wanted the schools to be on a level playing field.

Yet there have been countless rumors about actions taken by Danville’s athletic department that create an uneven playing field — players participating while injured, ineligible and being given credits to be made eligible, yet there was no effort by Luke to quell those rumors and ensure an even playing field in those cases.

Only now when a child is no longer under his authority and has an opportunity to reach a level of success that hasn’t been reached by a Danville athlete in more than a a decade.

And just a question — how many athletes has Danville High sent to a Division I school in the past eight years? Not many.

In spite of all of the on-field success, there has been little to no post-high school success and that is supposed to be the most important factor to an educator.

So I guess I am left to conclude that if you can’t reach success with Coach Luke and the Danville High athletic department, he will do everything in his power to ensure you don’t reach it without him.

Christopher Hightower resides in Danville.