Deion Sanders' Prime Prep disqualified from athletics

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on August 17, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 17 at 11:00 PM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

DALLAS — "Prime Time" Deion Sanders has been sidelined.

His new Dallas charter school, Prime Prep Academy, was sacked for a huge loss on Friday. A local University Interscholastic League committee stripped the school of all of its athletics this coming year after learning most of the football team is not eligible to play.

While Sanders' new school touts the prospect of quality academics, it's the athletic program and the potential of attracting top area athletes that has been getting attention. But that bubble burst Friday morning at the DISD District 11-3A committee meeting.

First, Prime Prep’s interim athletic director Cleveland Starr showed up late. Then he told the other coaches most of his players are ineligible this season due to residency requirements.

"If we just have to play a JV schedule, that's what we will do,” Starr said.

That's when the other District 11-3A coaches realized they would now have to scramble to find replacement opponents... and that's when the anger erupted.

"We don't know anything about Prime Prep,” said Madison High School head football coach Ronald Johnson. “We don't know who to contact; we don't know who to call; we don't know who we are going to face; we don't know if we are going to play over here or over there."

It then became clear there is a much larger issue with the way Prime Prep Academy has been conducting its athletic business.

The 11-3A coaches say they have been trying for months to get answers and commitments from Prime Prep about schedules, coaches and venues, but have gotten nothing but frustrated.

"If you can't tell us that you have a varsity team — 'I'm going to play a varsity team; I'm going to play a JV team' — then you all need to just be honest and say let us pull out,” said the committee chairperson, Madison High School Principal Marian Willard. “Let us start over next year.”

The committee went on to vote unanimously to disqualify Prime Prep from all athletics — varsity and junior varsity — for the entire year.

We were unable to reach Deion Sanders for comment. He did have some things to say on Twitter, however.

"I don't mind when people hate on me and try to hurt me BUT when they try to hurt my Truth kids and PrimePrep kids we have a problem!" he tweeted. "DISD u have a 53% drop out rate with African American males & u worried about Sports. Focus on the main thang & not my thang. Lets educate!"

State UIL officials have not been formally presented with the committee's actions and had no comment.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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