New allegations call DISD athletic officials into question

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 28 at 7:33 AM

DALLAS -- News 8's first investigation into alleged grade changing at South Oak Cliff High School resulted in the loss of two state-championship crowns, but no disciplinary action was taken against adults as a result.

Since then, News 8 has raised questions about grade changing at Pinkston High School, special treatment of student athletes at Skyline High School and improper recruiting at Kimball High School.

Last May, we discovered almost every player on this year's Kimball state championship basketball team transferred to Kimball from outside the district. UIL rules forbid student transfers for athletic purposes. Star player Keith Frazier moved to from Irving to Kimball, allegedly because the landlord was selling their rent house, forcing them to move.

News 8 discovered the house was not being sold and raised questions as to whether the transfer should have been approved by the 11-4A District Executive Committee.

The committee is made up mostly of DISD coaches within the district whose job is to enforce UIL rules. DISD Assistant Athletic Director Clint Roddy chairs that committee, and declined to comment on if and when they would consider the allegations.

At the 11-4A District Executive Committee meeting last Friday, committee members met to consider an allegation of improper recruiting by South Oak Cliff Head Football Coach Emmett Jones. At that meeting, Jones admitted to making improper contact with a student from Cedar Hill, a clear violation of UIL rules.

"Some dialogue did take place between Coach Jones and the student, and we are not going to deny that,” said South Oak Cliff High School Principal Rodney Cooksy at the time.

The incriminating evidence shared with the committee was a text Jones sent to the Cedar Hill student being recruited last spring. The text read, "the football program is gonna change, I would love to have you with [another star prospect at Cedar Hill whose name we won't show]." That second athlete, allegedly recruited by Jones, has now transferred to South Oak Cliff High School.

Cedar Hill school officials lodged a formal complaint with the District Executive Committee. Cedar Hill Athletic Director Gina Farmer and Head Football Coach Joey McGuire claimed both students were recruited by Jones. The mother of the student who transferred told the committee the allegations were false, and that her family was forced to move from Cedar Hill by her landlord.

"We had a lease home, they decided to sell the home,” the mother said.

The committee accepted the explanation without question. News 8 did not.

We checked with the landlord in Cedar Hill. We also checked multiple listing service records. The student's house was never put up for sale, as the committee was told. And even though the mother said her son wasn't recruited, she said she moved her family out of Cedar Hill and into a new house in DISD on May 4. Records show the mother applied to South Oak Cliff High School two months earlier, on March 6.

The mother's signature on the application presented to committee members also appears to be dramatically different from her signature on the transfer form supplied to the UIL. The mother said she signed both documents.

The application, the complaints and the incriminating text were all presented to District Executive Committee members. They voted 5-2 to accept the transfer.

After the meeting, DISD Athletic Director Jeff Johnson, who in five years has never agreed to do an interview with News 8, ignored our request again and bolted through a back door. Assistant Athletic Director Clint Roddy remained behind, to again tell us, "no comment."

The Kimball recruiting allegations have been the subject of an internal investigation for the past four months. The South Oak Cliff High School recruiting allegations are also reportedly being investigated.

New DISD Superintendent Mike Miles said he is implementing new coaching qualification standards. When we asked if any adults will ever be held accountable, Miles’ spokesman told News 8, “no comment."

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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