Ineligible Players on Madison High School’s Basketball Teams, Madison West High’s Coach and Athletic Director is Out

Rob Schultz:

Last March, the Regents forfeited a WIAA tournament upset victory over Baraboo for using a player who had an unexcused absence prior to the game.
Hodge, 46, who was the boys basketball coach, athletic director and minority service coordinator at his alma mater, claimed West principal Ed Holmes and school district administrators used that instance to railroad him out of West. He said it was a retaliatory move for rebutting the district’s stance during a controversial arbitration hearing in 2008.
“It had nothing to do with my coaching,” said Hodge, who took the Regents to the WIAA state tournament twice, won six WIAA regional titles and two Big Eight Conference titles during his tenure. He had a 121-149 overall record.
“It was all about the theory of retaliating against me because I went public about how the district treats its employees if they have an issue.”
Data provided to The Capital Times and Hodge from an anonymous source showed there were 82 unexcused absences logged by players from his team that went unpunished.
Madison East had 117 unexcused absences that would have forced the Purgolders to relinquish 15 victories and a regional title, while Madison La Follette had 73 unexcused absences and Madison Memorial 12, according to the source’s data.
According to the data, Memorial — which won the WIAA Division 1 state title — had only one case of an ineligible player scoring in a game.
The source also has data that claimed that some of East’s unexcused absences were changed to excused absences after Hodge lodged a complaint about all the schools’ unexcused absences with the WIAA March 9.
Hodge gave the data he received before and after he lodged the complaint with the WIAA to John Matthews, the executive director of Madison Teachers, Inc. He said Matthews brought the data to the attention of MMSD superintendent Dan Nerad.
The district then investigated Hodge’s assertions and recently sent its conclusions to the WIAA, according to the WIAA’s Dave Anderson, “Their findings did not reveal substance to the allegations that were made,” said Anderson, who will begin duties as the WIAA’s executive director Monday.