Illinois All-Conference basketball player reinstated after family files lawsuit

November 29, 2023 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballCoaching
An Illinois mother filed a lawsuit on behalf of her son—a standout high school basketball player—after he was inexplicably cut from his varsity team.

The legal was done as an attempt to have her son reinstated to the varsity team and receive playing. She alleged the school, Hinsdale South High School, allowed the head coach to cut her son from the team in retaliation for complaints filed by her son against the prior head coach which led to that coach’s demotion.

illinoisMultiple news outlets have reported that since news of the lawsuit made waves on the internet, the player has been reinstated, but the lawsuit has not been withdrawn or dismissed from the Chicago federal court.

According to the complaint, the player earned high honors on the court in prior seasons—being named to the All-Conference team as a sophomore and junior.

A recent story from the Cook County Record detailed the family’s lawsuit against the school and what led up to the legal action. Below is an excerpt from the Cook County Record story.

According to the complaint, that move amounted to illegal retaliation against Savage for a complaint he had filed against former Hinsdale South head boys basketball coach Michael Moretti.

That complaint alleged Moretti had verbally abused, harassed, and bullied his players, allegedly in violation of Hinsdale South school and district policies prohibiting such alleged bullying and harassment of students by teachers, coaches, and other school personnel.

The complaint was filed in May 2023, launching an investigation against Moretti.

A month later, officials from Hinsdale Township High School District 86 substantiated the allegations in Savage’s complaint. The Illinois school district then removed Moretti as head varsity basketball coach and demoted him to head coach of the boys freshman basketball team instead.

Hinsdale South then installed Michael Belcaster as head varsity boys basketball coach. According to Savage’s lawsuit, Belcaster was a “close personal friend” of Moretti’s.

According to the lawsuit, as the new high school basketball season began this fall, Belcaster refused to name Savage to the varsity roster, appearing to claim the former All-Conference standout was no longer good enough to play on the Hinsdale South basketball team.

According to the complaint, the Savages appealed the roster decision to Hinsdale school officials, who “rejected/denied” them.

Erin Savage then filed suit, claiming Belcaster’s action against her son amounted to punishment against her son for exercising his First Amendment rights to speak out against his former coach for allegedly violating school policies.

Further, the lawsuit accuses Hinsdale South and District 86 officials of also violating Savage’s rights “by failing to take any disciplinary action against Belcaster” for appearing to act in revenge for the action instigated against his friend, Moretti, as a result of the complaint filed by Savage.

To read the full story from the Cook County Record about the Illinois lawsuit, click here.