(12-20-21) It seems that in Illinois high school sports a transfer portal has been created and no one seems to care, other then the school that loses a player. A recent transfer of a top player from a private school to a public school, after school had started and just 30 days before the season started.

That happened in Rockford, below is a small portion of a story by the Rockford Register Star’s Jay Taft posted on Sunday.

Mike Jones left Lutheran for Auburn 30 days before the season began. Now, the 6-foot-6 sophomore leads Auburn in scoring (11.0 points per game) and rebounding (10.1), and he has the Knights on top of the NIC-10 at 6-0.

Jones led the team in scoring (last season) and rebounding as the Crusaders soared to a 16-0 record and a No. 1 ranking in the final AP Class 1A polls last year, winning all but one game by 15 or more points.

Jones’ departure left a hole, but this was a deep team before he left, and it was still a deep team after. And their goals sure haven’t changed.

In video below #22 Mike Jones scores the winning basket for Auburn –

The move has impacted both schools.

Mike Jones is a talented young player, after a great freshman year at Lutheran, at 6’6 and just a sophomore…he is only going to get better. He is already making an impact in the NIC 10.

From www.illinoishoopprospects.com from this summer –

2024 Mike Jones (6’8 C, Rockford Lutheran)

Jones is constantly active and impactful on both ends. He sealed hard and finished off drop steps on the block. When he got deep position, he frequently drew fouls and showed good form on his foul shots. Jones runs the floor like a gazelle and has the length and athleticism to play above the rim. He is a hard rim runner that can push a little bit off the dribble. On the defensive end, he covers a lot of ground and can switch onto guards if needed. The talent is obvious and the potential is through the roof for the 6-foot-8 big man. He is one of the premier centers in the 2024 class.

The impact on both teams …Lutheran has to replace a top team after a suddent transfer, while Lutheran has to add a top player to an already good Auburn team. Both coaches have been on the Rockford scene for a long time, Tom Guse and Auburn’s Bryan Ott. The two coaches have seen a lot during their time as head coaches, but a transfer like this can put a strain on the relationship of private and public schools in the future.

It has been a distraction for both programs.

The elephant in the room’ is a metaphorical idiom in English for an important or enormous topic, question, or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable and is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous

This transfer is something that school administrators on both sides will not discuss or a make a statement about it. Most media members now refer to Mike Jones as the ‘Rockford Lutheran transfer‘ and that is where it stops. No discussion about why, how and when it happened.

From the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) Matt Troha on the Jones transfer –

I do not show that Auburn requested a ruling, which they would not necessarily need to do.

IHSA rules allow a student-athlete transferring from a private school to their home public for the first time immediate eligibility.  

If said transfer occurred during the school year, there would likely be a 30-day period of ineligibility before a student-athlete could compete in a contest.

They are not required to file paperwork with our office, but they would have needed to complete some transfer paperwork between the two schools.

The IHSA’s eligibility rulings make it an open season on private school’s best athletes and it is acceptable without any questions being asked. Even a transfer just 30 days before a season starts.

Below is some of the IHSA eligibility rules –

Over the years Rockford City Schools have had some transfers that have raised the eyebrows of many following the game…several when a player transfers from one RPS school to another.

In the Chicago Public League there is always a boat load of transfers in football and basketball.