Uncertainty surrounds athletic program at Prime Prep Academy

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 10:20 PM

DALLAS — Conflicting reports are emerging about the fate of the athletics program at Deion Sanders' new Dallas charter school, Prime Prep Academy.

While local athletic officials voted to ban the school from playing any sports this year, University Interscholastic League officials in Austin Wednesday said, time out — they haven't made a ruling yet.

Two days before their first scheduled game, the Prime Prep Academy football players huddled on a practice field in Lancaster, preparing for a game that two weeks ago, the District 11-3A Executive Committee believed they were not eligible to play.

Why? Because too many of the athletes transferred improperly from outside the district.

Two weeks ago, a disgusted District Executive Committee got upset at Prime Prep. "We don't know anything about Prime Prep,” complained committee member Ronald Johnson. “We don't know who to contact; we don't know who to call; we don't know who we are going to face; we don't know if we are going to play over here or over there."

So the committee voted to ban Prime Prep from all athletics during this, their first season of play.

Despite that vote, Prime Prep plans to field a team on Friday night to play Parish Episcopal.

But the question remains: Will football be played by Prime Prep Academy on Friday night?

"I can't answer that," said UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison.

State UIL officials at first said they were unsure of what the District Executive Committee voted on two weeks ago. "I would need to see the minutes, and I've not seen that," Harrison said.

Minutes later — during the same conversation — Harrison clarified those remarks.

"It is my understanding that they do not want Prime Prep Academy to play athletics," Harrison said. "However, that would have to come before the SEC [State Executive Committee]."

And that was what the local committee voted to do, in accordance with UIL rules which read:

"If the offense is of sufficient gravity to warrant suspension ... the committee shall make such recommendation ... to the State Executive Committee."

At this time, and at their meeting Wednesday, the State Executive Committee did not deal with the recommendation.

"I believe that decision is continuing to be revisited by the members of that (District Executive) Committee," Harrison said.

Not so, according to Marian Willard, chairperson of that committee, who told News 8 on Wednesday they are not revisiting the issue and don’t plan on meeting again until next week.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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