DISD athletics to get tighter scrutiny

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 5 at 10:39 PM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

DALLAS -- DISD Superintendent Mike Miles is hoping to send a message to coaches and parents about cheating.

Miles has put the head of DISD’s internal investigations unit in charge of enforcing all state athletic rules.

"If you step out of line, we are going to hold you responsible and accountable," said DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander.

That's the message from the top at DISD. Big changes in athletic rules compliance are being made, and they appear to be result of a series of News 8 investigations.

They started when Kimball High School basketball team  won its second state championship in a row last spring. That's when News 8 discovered that most every player on the team either lived outside of the district or had just recently transferred, in apparent violation of state athletic rules.

We talked to one parent who said a Kimball coach had blatantly tried to recruit her son.

"And he even told me there were some new houses out there they could help me get into,” said Helen Delaney of Irving.

Our attempts to question DISD Athletic Department officials about alleged rules violations last year were repeatedly rejected. But the allegations of improper recruiting were later investigated by DISD's Office of Professional Responsibility, and largely substantiated in a report released last November.

DISD Superintendent Mike Miles pledged accountability, and now is acting on it by putting the enforcement of all state athletic rules under that same investigative body.

"We really want to send a signal to students, to parents to coaches, to anyone who's observing high school athletics that we take compliance issues very seriously," Dahlander said.

Big changes could also come in the next school year, as all DISD coaches must - for the first time - be certified as regular teachers.

It could impact Kimball's current head basketball coach, Royce “Snoop” Johnson, who is a teachers aide and does not have a college degree.

One of Kimball's coaches was forced to resign in the wake of the district’s investigation. And while the district found evidence that one of Kimball's star players transferred improperly, Miles has decided not to take the school’s 2012 state championship title away.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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