Schools canceling games against LaMelo Ball's team


High schools are canceling games against LaMelo Ball's SPIRE Institute, concerned about the risks to their programs of playing against a team that features a player who appeared in games as a professional.

The youngest of LaVar Ball's three sons, LaMelo competed in Lithuania last season after his father took him out of high school and said he would coach him on his own. He also played in the JBA league, run by his father, but LaVar Ball said his son received no pay.

He enrolled last week at SPIRE in Ohio.

Indiana powerhouse La Lumiere canceled its game, scheduled for Tuesday, against SPIRE, saying it wouldn't play against a team with a pro.

"We aim to put together as competitive a schedule as possible for our team, but we have never played against a team whose roster included any players who have played at the professional level," La Lumiere said in a statement. "With the recent news that someone who has played professionally intends to play for SPIRE Academy, we are not comfortable moving forward with our game slated for next Tuesday against SPIRE."

Virginia's famed Oak Hill Academy also said it won't play in its game Dec. 3 against SPIRE because of a risk to its eligibility. Virginia interscholastic rules require its members to play only nonconference schools that meet state rules.

Hill School in Pennsylvania agreed to play SPIRE on Saturday, and Ball scored 20 points and added 13 assists.

Ball was ranked as a five-star prospect in the 2019 class and had committed to UCLA before withdrawing from high school last fall.

The 17-year-old said last week he'd had Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Michigan State on his radar, though questions about his eligibility likely will hover over the college process.

--Field Level Media