DISD chief overhauls athletics rules committees

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on September 30, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 30 at 10:11 PM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

DALLAS — Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles is making big changes in the wake of a News 8 investigation into lax discipline and rules violations in the district's athletics department.

Miles said he will overhaul the committees that govern University Interscholastic League athletics at DISD, and will make sure those who violate the rules will be punished.

Helen Delaney of Irving told News 8 last May the story of the Kimball High School football coach, who she said tried to recruit her son, Brien, in the summer of 2011.

"The coach made it clear he wanted me to move into his attendance zone," Delaney said.

Following that story, DISD investigators interviewed the coach in question, Kimball offensive coordinator Justin Owens. According to internal investigative findings just released by DISD’s Office of Professional Responsibility, "Owens attempted to recruit Brien" and "was untruthful in his affidavit given to investigators."

News 8 has learned Owens was released from the district following the district's investigation.

Word of this action comes on the heels of a News 8 Investigation that aired Thursday night. It explored a lack of disciplinary actions taken against DISD coaches or athletic officials accused of either cheating or allowing it.

Our investigation also raised questions about the state University Interscholastic League committees, made up of DISD coaches, which are in charge of enforcing UIL rules.

Last Friday, despite the admission of improper recruiting by South Oak Cliff's head football coach, the District 11-4A Executive Committee voted to permit the transfer of a Cedar Hill student athlete who had allegedly been recruited.

On Friday, DISD Superintendent Mike Miles responded with a statement:

"The issues raised in WFAA's report regarding athletics last night are indeed serious ... I will not be afraid to take appropriate personnel action when ... issues threaten student safety or compromise the integrity of ... our school district."

Miles said he cannot discuss specific personnel actions,  but he did say the internal investigation into alleged recruiting violations at Kimball High School are ongoing.

But perhaps most significantly, Miles said he will replace the coaches on the UIL committees with school principals and assistants, and future meetings will take place at DISD headquarters.

As for those athletic department officials, who for years have declined to answer News 8’s questions about cheating and discipline, Miles said, “I believe the athletics department has properly administered UIL rules and policies.”

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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