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IHSAA moves contest from Huntington University amid sex abuse, doping allegations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana High School Athletic Association leader says it’s moved one of its “cross country semi-state” contests from Huntington University as two of its coaches face a lawsuit alleging sex abuse and doping.

News 8 on Tuesday first reported that two former student-athletes at Huntington University have filed suit against the school and its former track coach, claiming the university violated the athletes’ Title IX rights and failed to protect them from their predatory coach.

Huntington University later announced that Lauren Johnson and Curtis Hines were put on administrative leave following the allegations. 

Paul Neidig, the commissioner of IHSAA, told News 8, in a statement on Monday, “After much discussion from all parties involved, I felt it was best to move the cross country semi-state scheduled to be held at Huntington University to Indiana Wesleyan located in Marion. With the issues surrounding the cross country program at Huntington we felt the potential for a significant distraction was just too great. We certainly hope to return to Huntington for the 2023 tournament.”

The contest initially set for Huntington University was moved to Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion. Delta, Elkhart, Marion and West Noble high schools’ student-athletes will compete starting at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 22. Three other semistate contests will happen the same day.

The suit centers around accusations against Johnson’s husband, Nick Johnson, who was previously the head cross-country and assistant track coach at the university until his firing after being arrested for child solicitation in late 2020. Lauren Johnson was promoted following her husband’s dismissal. According to the lawsuit, the Johnsons returned to their alma mater as coaches and administered unknown shots, pills and creams to student-athletes. The suit alleges they have ties to a coach linked to doping.

Lauren Johnson (left) and Curtis Hines (right). (Provided Photos/Huntington University)