A high school basketball event billed as “Donda Homecoming” scheduled for Feb. 5 at UIC’s Credit Union I Arena is currently selling tickets on Ticketmaster but hasn’t been sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
Tickets went on sale Tuesday and prices range from $20 to $500.
Kenwood is scheduled to play Hillcrest in the opener and Simeon will play Coronado, NV in the second game. The sanctioning issues come from the headline game.
Donda Academy, which features Kenwood transfer JJ Taylor, is scheduled to play Chicago Prep, a high school and post-grad school in Chicago. Neither of those schools is in a state high school association. Donda Academy is named for the mother of musician Ye West, formerly known as Kanye West.
According to the IHSA, for an event to be approved “all the competing schools would need to be a member of their state high school association or receive approval to participate from their state high school association.”
IHSA spokesperson Matt Troha said that the Donda Homecoming event applied for sanctioning on Tuesday “but did not have all the adequate information for us to act on the sanctioning request.”
It’s unlikely that Simeon, Kenwood, and Hillcrest would play in the event if the IHSA does not sanction it. According to several sources sanctioning requests are generally sent in many months before an event takes place.
Darren Duncan, who is running the Donda Homecoming event, says that he’s confident it will be sanctioned. It is scheduled to be shown live on NBC Sports Chicago and streamed on Peacock.
“We have done this before with [the National Federation of State High School Associations] and it hasn’t been a problem,” Duncan said. “The reason why this has taken longer is not because we are incompetent. It’s because the schools in the event changed and the policies changed.”
Chicago requires that all attendees at events in arenas be vaccinated for COVID. That’s the policy change Duncan is referencing.
“It is very rare that events don’t get sanctioned,” Duncan said. “They work with you to get the sanctioning done.”
The NFHS website shows a sanctioning request for the event that was submitted on Tuesday at 9:19 p.m. Donda Academy isn’t listed as an invited school. Chicago Prep is listed but its approval was denied.
Duncan says he has a call scheduled with the IHSA later today.
“The NFHS coordinates the sanctioning and it goes through all the state associations,” Duncan said. “They have an expedited process which costs more. We are going through that now. The fee is substantial.”