polo aftershave balm Morris cleared for tournament after court appearance
The playing status of two prominent players on the defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Madison Memorial boys basketball team won’t change despite their appearance Monday in Dane County Circuit Court on misdemeanor charges of retail theft.
Forwards Albert “Junior” Lomomba, Jr., 19, and Jamar Morris, 18, were charged with fellow Memorial students Max W. Genin, 17, and Lavelle Nash, 18, for their part in a Jan. 21 incident at Boston Store at West Towne Mall.
All four were released on signature bonds. Madison Memorial principal Bruce Dahmen said the two players, who were suspended for one game earlier this season after the situation became known, will not face additional discipline.
Lomomba, a 6 foot 5 senior headed to Cleveland State on a basketball scholarship, leads the Spartans (21 1) in scoring at 17.1 points per game. Morris, a 6 6 senior, is averaging 11.4 points.
The WIAA tournament series begins Tuesday night with regional quarterfinal games. Friday.
“It does not change a thing,” Dahmen said of the charges. “The courts operate separate from the schools. We have gone through our process. For us, it’s a closed matter.”
According to the complaint filed Monday, Lomomba and Morris had paid “only a few dollars on hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise” purchased Jan. 21 at Boston Store. that day. The complaint says Nash charged Morris $5 for what would have been a $470 transaction.
According to the complaint, the store employee who contacted police about the incident said the store had not given Morris permission to buy nor the employee permission to sell the clothing items for less than full purchase price.
Less than two hours later, according to the complaint,
store video showed Genin scanning in three Polo/Ralph Lauren sweatshirts valued at $95 each for Lomomba and charging him $10. The complaint stated Morris was standing next to Lomomba and observed the transaction.
A court date was not set. If convicted, each faces a fine of up to $10,000 and nine months in jail.
Police were informed of the incident Feb. 1, according to the complaint. The players, who participated in three games between the time the incident took place and the time it was reported, sat out Memorial’s game Feb. 3 at Sun Prairie as part of what Dahmen had termed an indefinite suspension, pending further investigation.
A commission of non winter sports coaches heard an appeal from the players the following Monday and cleared them to play, having served the one game suspension.
“Based on the information we received, that’s the way our athletic code allows us to follow through on violations,” Dahmen said. “We have imposed consequences and sanctions based on the information we had initially.”
WIAA deputy director Wade Labecki said his office investigated Memorial’s handling of this situation and deemed the school followed its athletic code. “We didn’t want something to pop up to us during the tournament,” he said.
Labecki compared the Memorial situation to a similar one in Wisconsin Rapids involving the three time defending WIAA Division 1 state champion wrestling team.
There, four wrestlers were charged with disorderly conduct for an alleged locker room hazing incident that occurred in January 2011. The four last week agreed to a plea deal and will have their plea hearing Friday morning, less than 12 hours before competing in the WIAA Division 1 state team quarterfinals at the UW Field House.
“When you believe there is a violation to your code (of conduct), you must respond to it immediately,” Labecki said, noting two of the Rapids wrestlers were suspended for one game in football, another for one meet in cross country and the fourth for the first meet of the wrestling season.
“They served that penalty and they were restored.”
A proposed amendment to the WIAA constitution was brought to the 2011 WIAA annual meeting that would have increased the minimum suspension for an athletic code violation statewide from one game to 20 percent of the season. It failed on a 155 146 vote.
“We tried to do something about it, but we just didn’t get anywhere with it,” Labecki said. “The membership likes to stick to local control on that.”
Reporter Ed Treleven contributed to this report. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said the bail jumping charge will be dropped. . In addition, Genin’s age has been corrected to show he is 17 years old, which under state law still considers him an adult having been accused of violating a state or federal law.]