NEWS 8 INEVESTIGATES
DALLAS — It’s a question that coaches from all over North Texas are asking: How did Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy land some of the best high school basketball players in the country?
At a meeting Wednesday, opposing coaches and school officials asked for proof that the school didn't illegally recruit players.
Prime Prep Academy has already had to forfeit its varsity football season because most of the new charter school players improperly transferred from outside the Dallas Independent School District.
Now, new allegations are being raised by the head football coach at Denton Ryan High School, Joey Florence. His concern: That three of his players openly transferred to Prime Prep Academy for athletic reasons, in violation of University Interscholastic League rules.
"These three kids... we started having problems this spring because they made up their minds, they were going to go to Prime Prep Academy,” Florence said.
The District 11-3A Executive Committee also met Wednesday to consider eligibility of Prime Prep's entire basketball team... and what a team it would be — made up of some of the nation’s top college recruits, many of them transferring (along with their coach) from one of the top teams in the country last year, Arlington Grace Prep.
To be eligible to play this year, they would have to move into the Dallas ISD attendance zone and could not be recruited.
Sanders insists they all transferred legitimately.
Committee members expressed doubts.
"When I see a whole basketball team transition to another school along with their coach? Now let's talk about the kids, because I'm going to have to go back to Ferris and I'm going to have to tell my kids what's going on,” said Ferris High School head football coach Aaron Emeyabbi.
The committee later inspected, then rejected, every one of Sanders' basketball transfer forms, sending them back for proof of proper residency.
"I'm not going to go to everybody's house to see if they live there,” said Madison High School Principal Marian Willard.
After the meeting, Sanders flatly denied recruiting top talent. “I don't know who's a national recruit; I don't follow basketball like that," he said. "I don't care how it looks; I know what it is.”
Sanders now has one week to provide the committee with proof that all of Prime Prep Academy's blue chip basketball players actually live in the DISD attendance zone.
If the committee is not satisfied, Prime Prep will not be able to play varsity basketball this year.