Later in 2010, Adams asked Ahrens if the school would take other Sudanese students. Told that Mooseheart would accept students regardless if they were athletes, Adams encouraged the four students to apply, according to the court filing.
The IHSA's recruiting rules say that member schools are responsible for violations committed by coaches, staff, students "or any organization having any connection to the school."
IHSA officials said they would not comment on the case until after the board's ruling.
The school that raised questions about A-HOPE issued a statement in late November saying it "was never the intent of the Hinckley-Big Rock School District to attack the student-athletes or Mooseheart. Our only intent was in gathering information about the A-HOPE program and the basis for participation in IHSA sanctioned events and activities."
It's not the first time A-HOPE has received unflattering attention.
The Bloomington, Ind.-based foundation's mission is helping "African student athletes studying in the U.S., but whose financial ability would otherwise make it impossible," according to the nonprofit's federal income tax forms.
The organization was founded in 2004 by Adams, who told ESPN.com last year that some of the African student athletes he's brought to the United States are poor and homeless, while others "came from loving families willing to let them go in order to seek an education and fulfill their dreams of playing basketball beyond the club level."
He said that his AAU team, Indiana Elite, was an important part of the A-HOPE program, because playing for the team during the summer helps the African students get college scholarships.
The AP left messages for Adams through the group's website and at a phone number listed for a Mark Adams in Bloomington, Ind., but the requests for comment weren't immediately returned.
Last month, the NCAA suspended two Indiana University freshmen for nine games and required them to repay a part of the impermissible benefits they received from Adams, including plane tickets, meals, housing, a laptop computer, a cellphone and clothing. The NCAA said Adams was considered an Indiana University booster because he once donated $185 to the school's Varsity Club.
The four Sudanese students don't fully understand why their eligibility is in question, said Hart, who insisted on being present during the AP's interview with the student athletes. But they do know much is at stake.
Deng and Puou said they want to be businessmen when they return to Sudan. Nyang said he wants to be an engineer. Cross-country runner Wal Khat, the shortest of the four at 6-foot-4, said he wants to be a pilot.
"When we leave Mooseheart, we need something for support ... No one will pay for you," Khat said.
Hart has pledged Mooseheart will stand by them, whether or not they play sports.
Puou talked about life back home: "We don't have good hospitals. We don't have good schools, not even good roads," he said. "United States is helping. It's changing our lives and we hope we're going to be a better people."
Deng said he's had trouble sleeping because "I just (keep) thinking about what's going to happen to us."
Carla K. Johnson can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/CarlaKJohnson.
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