South Bend Washington High School announced on Wednesday that they will hold a press conference at 1pm Thursday to discuss the findings of two IHSAA investigations against the school.
While the school's announcement did not get into specifics of what those investigations center around, NewsCenter 16 has learned they pertain to former girls basketball player Jasmine Watson and former football and boys basketball player Darius Hardin.
Both of these stories were written about in depth by NewsCenter 16 last week.
Watson’s case has dragged on for nearly three years going back to 2008, when Watson transferred from Elkhart Memorial to Washington for her senior year.
Her family said they moved because of financial concerns, but the IHSAA said it was for athletic reasons. She was ruled ineligible for the first eight games that season, before the circuit court overturned that decision and put her back on the basketball court. (You can read more about it by clicking here.)
But in 2010, the case went before the Indiana State Supreme Court, who agreed with the IHSAA and, once again, ruled Watson ineligible. (You can read more about this by clicking here.)
In that 2008-2009 season, the Washington Panthers went all the way to the state championship game and they hold the 2009 state runner-up title. Current Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins was a senior on that Washington team.
Washington was in a tough position. Once they learned the IHSAA was appealing the decision, they had to choose to play Watson or not. By playing her, they opened themselves up to the ruling being overturned and the IHSAA placing penalties on them. Had they chose not to play her, they could have opened themselves up to a lawsuit from the Watson family since a court order at the time had ruled in her favor.
Possible penalties could be financial, involve probation or a loss of victories from the 2008-2009 season.
Watson is currently a junior in college, playing basketball at UMass.
NewsCenter 16 broke the full story centering around former football player Darius Hardin Last Friday. Hardin was suffered from incredible hardship before arriving at Washington. The Panthers helped him turn his life around and he is now on scholarship at Grand Valley State next year. He, however, was in high school for five years. That’s something sources say Washington was unaware of.
Either way--regardless of the reasons or the situation--five years in high school is a violation of an IHSAA rule.
The Panthers could be stripped of football victories from the 2010 season and any basketball wins Hardin was a part of. We’re told he played in enough games that it would result in Washington losing its Northern Indiana Conference championship in boys basketball.
There is much more to this complicated case. You can read about it in depth clicking here.
NewsCenter 16 will have the latest on the findings Thursday.