South Oak Cliff High School stripped of another basketball title

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by By BRETT SHIPP / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on February 20, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 4:54 PM

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Brett Shipp reports.

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For four straight years they were the kings of the court.

Now, for the second time in just over a year, they have been dethroned.

The Dallas South Oak Cliff Golden Bears have been stripped of yet another state basketball championship.

The reason, improper grade changes for top athletes, first brought to light by News 8 and now confirmed by an external DISD investigation.

On Friday, DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa pulled the plug on the 2005 state championship title.

It was an impressive run.

One of the most dominant Texas high school teams in recent memory.

Four straight state championship crowns.

Two of them are now tarnished by evidence that ineligible athletes played a prominent role in two championship seasons.

First the 2006 state champs and now the 2005 championship team.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who once reveled in the thrill of victory with the victorious team, now says it's difficult to acknowledge this defeat.

"And so we've notified the UIL, the University Interscholastic League, of our request to have the 2005 state title taken away," said Hinojosa.

"It's not a bright day for us but never the less, it's something that had to be done, and that is the truth and that's what we have dealt with."

All three athletes were stars on the same team: Darrell Arthur, Kevin Rogers and Kendrake Johnigan.

All had their failing grades changed to passing on the same day, February 23, 2005, just days before the championship game.

A News 8 investigation uncovering the irregularities prompted Hinojosa to call for an external review by the Houston law firm Feldman, Rogers.

The News 8 findings were substantiated.

Lead attorney David Feldman says he was surprised by what he found. "When we thrashed out all the facts we applied the UIL rules to those facts, there's no question that we had a clear case of ineligibility," said Feldman.

None of the athletes affected has responded to our request for comment but just days ago, Darrell Arthur, now a player in the NBA, dismissed the allegations. "It's bogus," said Arthur, "just because I don't see how you can bring it up seven years later so I don't really don't have a comment on it right now."

Darrell Arthur has gone on to much larger acclaim. He was a key player on last year's NCAA national championship team at Kansas.

And even though it has been determined that Arthur did not pass or complete at least one of his required classes, DISD will not pursue revocation of his high school diploma. One person district officials may still pursue, however, is head coach James Mays II.

Mays, whom we questioned last year about his role, is mentioned in the report as allegedly instigating some of the grade change requests, something Hinojosa will neither confirm nor deny.

"I will say that we will follow the process and that we have new information so we will look at this matter again regardless of who was involved," said Hinojosa.

The 2005 state championship title will now be awarded to San Antonio Sam Houston.

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