DUNCANVILLE, Texas — After getting suspended by University Interscholastic League, retired Duncanville girls basketball coach Cathy Self Morgan denies having violated any recruiting rules.
"I didn’t do anything wrong, she said. “I apologize though that I’ve embarrassed my school, my city, and the kids and student-athletes I’ve coached all these years.”
The UIL ruled that Self Morgan engaged in “prohibited recruiting,” in order to have a player from San Antonio join the Duncanville squad this past season.
“I have a player they said was recruited and she was not,” Self Morgan said. “Her father lives here in Cedar Hill ten minutes from our school. The parents wanted to co-parent.”
The UIL didn’t see it that way. At the heart of their findings was a string of text messages between Self Morgan and local AAU coach Earl Rooks. That communication provided the basis for the UIL to hand down the punishment. Self Morgan says the texts were misconstrued, after being altered, causing them to be taken out of context.
“It was not recruiting,” she said. “It was banter. It was just coaches talking to coaches. There were joking moments. There were laughing moments, and that didn’t come across. It came across like I’m very serious about this.
“After I read the way they were all put together I was like, I messed up, just in talking and in bantering with this coach, but there was no recruiting.”
The text messages came to light because Self Morgan refused to sign a transfer waiver form for five-star recruit Hannah Gusters. She was eventually ruled ineligible to play after she transferred from Duncanville to Irving MacArthur in December.
The girl's mother, Sheridane Gusters, provided the UIL with copies of the text messages during her daughter’s eligibility hearing.
That sparked the UIL to mandate Duncanville ISD to conducted an internal investigation. The findings of that probe cited a lack of "credible evidence" to deem Self Morgan's actions as violations. The UIL's findings directly contradict that report.
“When I was threatened by this mother who was withdrawing her daughter and taking her somewhere else and she said I’ll turn in texts that I have on you for recruiting, no red light went off in my head,” said Self Morgan. “Had I done something like this maliciously, intentionally, I would have been like give me the paper I’ll change it. I wasn’t afraid.”
Self Morgan granted WFAA Sports an interview and also released a statement proclaiming her innocence.
In her 42-year career Self Morgan has racked up more than 1,100 victories, including eight UIL state titles, five of them at Duncanville. She’s gathering information about the UIL appeal process and left the door wide open for a return to coaching.
“Yes, I would probably, possibly get into private school coaching,” she said. “I could also go on the clinic tour to schools and try to develop younger coaches.”