DALLAS – The head football coach at South Oak Cliff High School has been charged with improperly recruiting an athlete from a neighboring school district. Few are sure of what the penalty will be, however.
News 8 has caught coaches at South Oak Cliff violating UIL rules twice in the past four years, resulting in two state titles stripped from the school. Now they’ve been caught again.
First year South Oak Cliff head football coach Emmett Jones was accused by athletic officials at Cedar Hill of trying to improperly recruit one of their young football players last March while he played Amateur Athletic Union basketball at South Oak Cliff’s gym.
At the District 11-4A Executive Committee meeting Friday morning, South Oak Cliff's Principal Rodney Cooksy admitted an infraction had occurred.
"The mistake we are going to admit to is they, the student and coach, exchanged numbers and our coach did contact the student,” said Cooksy. “And so we don't deny that there was contact that should not have been."
An admission was perhaps made easier by the discovery of a text on the Cedar Hill athlete's cell phone from last March, which read, "this is Coach Jones from SOC. I just meet (sic) you at practice. I came to SOC from Skyline last week. The football program is gonna change, and I would love to have you... stay in touch."
According to Cooksy, Coach Jones' inexperience was to blame.
"First year coach,” said Cooksy, “growing process, learning process."
UIL committee chairman and DISD Assistant Athletic Director Clint Roddy then laid down the law.
“We don't deem it acceptable and not knowing the rule is not an excuse,” said Roddy. And the penalty for the unacceptable offense of improper recruiting, Roddy said, "the only penalty this committee has the authority to impose, according to the UIL, is a reprimand."
And with that, the committee, made up of other District 11-4A head coaches and athletic directors, voted to issue Coach Jones a reprimand to be privately administered by Chairman Roddy.
But UIL rules also stipulate the committee can recommend to the State UIL Executive Committee that Coach Jones be suspended. The committee members at Friday’s hearing never considered that possibility.
South Oak Cliff's principal says he too will reprimand Coach Jones. Dallas ISD officials say the recruiting incident is also the subject of an internal investigation, which they are not at liberty to discuss.