In Honor of Prime Prep: 10 of Texas' Biggest High School Sports Scandals
Saying Texas takes high school sports seriously is like saying it can get a bit warm here in the summer. Contests between kids make adults do crazy things, like, say, letting a certain former football player open up a state-funded charter school. Or worse. Check out some of the low-lights of Texas high school sports history.
10. Houston's Beren Academy Almost Misses its Shot at a State Championship
Robert M. Beren Academy is a small Orthodox Jewish day school in Houston. In 2011-2012, the school had its best basketball season ever and was 23-5 heading into the state semifinals of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools tournament. TAPPS scheduled the team's game against Dallas' Covenant School for 9 p.m. on a Friday, conflicting with team's observation of the Sabbath. Initially, TAPPS refused to reschedule the contest, with the association telling outlets like The New York Times, which covered the controversy extensively, that the school was told about the potential conflicts when it joined and that rescheduling would be unfair to other schools.
Eventually, citing "legal concerns," TAPPS moved the game to 2 p.m. and agreed to, should Beren win its semifinal, move the championship game from Saturday afternoon to Saturday night as well. Beren did just that, beating Covenant before losing 46-42 to Abilene Christian in the state finals.
9. Stamford High School Forfeits State Title
Stamford, a place that's now a sleepy little town about an hour north of Abilene, became the first school in the state to give up a championship won on the field when it ceded its 1959 2A football title to Brady High School, a team it beat 19-14. If you look at the record books now, all you'll see is a 1-0 Brady win. The Bulldogs' crime? Using an ineligible player.
8. Prime Prep Faces Countless Issues In What Seems Likely to Be a Brief Existence
In the interest of brevity, Unfair Park will just point you to our other reporting on the Deion Sanders-backed school's problems, including alleged financial impropriety, Sanders admitting to physical altercations with staff, athlete recruitment problems and eligibility issues for its athletes once they reach college. The charter school may be at the end of the line now, as the state has revoked its charter -- pending appeal of course.
7. Keith Frazier's Kimball High School Career
Frazier was the focal point of a WFAA investigation into Kimball's 2011 and 2012 state championship-winning basketball teams. A Brett Shipp report alleged that as many as nine players on the 2012 team transferred to the school from outside of its district. Transferring for athletics is against University Interscholastic League rules. A DISD executive committee ruled that wasn't what happened, but much of the evidence collected by Shipp suggests that it did.
Frazier went to SMU on a basketball scholarship. He ran into trouble at the school earlier this year when it was reported that Kimball's soccer coach changed the player's failing physics grade to allow him to graduate.
6. Colleyville Heritage's Football Team Has a Steroid Problem
After a 2004 Dallas Morning News investigation, nine football players admitted to using both prescription steroids and over-the-counter steroid-like substances, like Mark McGwire-popularized androstenedione. Parents and administrators were shocked, especially by the fact that head football coach Chris Cunningham had dismissed parental concerns about use on the team.
Heritage finished the 2004 season 4-6. According to the DMN Cunningham told his players that the losing record was a good thing. More wins would have brought more scrutiny.
5. South Oak Cliff Forfeits Two State Championships
SOC was forced to vacate two of its four consecutive mid-aughts basketball titles for improper grade changes. The changes were made to keep the nucleus of the team on the right side of UIL's "no pass, no play" regulations ahead of the state tournament. Winford Ashmore, a former teacher at the school, claimed on an ESPN Radio show that coach Robert Mays and Principal Donald Moten pressured him to change player Darrell Arthur's math grade. Arthur would go on to star at the University of Kansas and play in the NBA.
4. Odessa Permian Fields a 22-Year-Old Basketball Player
Guerdwich Montimere's high school basketball coach still called him "Jerry," even as Montimere was on trial for charges related to his posing as a teenager from Haiti named Jerry Joseph in order to play for Panthers head coach Danny Wright.
Montimere led Permian to the playoffs and was named district Newcomer of the Year before he was found out. When he was, the school forfeited each game he played in and he was stripped of his award. Before the saga was over, GQ featured his story and Montimere ended up in prison for tampering with government documents and having sex with a 15-year-old.
3. The Channelview Cheerleader Murder Plot
Subject of two TV movies and any number of lurid news stories, the Wanda Holloway case needs no embellishment.
Upset that Shanna, her daughter, was beaten out of a spot on the cheerleading team, Holloway attempted to hire her ex-brother-in-law to kill Verna Heath, the mother of one of the girls who did make the team.
Holloway was convicted of solicitation of capital murder a sentenced to 15 years. That conviction was overturned when it turned out a member of her jury had been ineligible because of a criminal record. Holloway pleaded no contest before her retrial and was sentenced to 10 years. After serving six months, she was allowed to serve out the remainder of her sentence on probation.
2. Carter's 1988 Season
Dallas Carter's 1988 run to the 5A state football championship is one of the enduring legends in Texas high school sports lore. The team was loaded, one of the most talented the state has ever seen according to many observers, featuring future NFL standout Jesse Armstead and Gary Edwards, a two-way player who starred at both cornerback and running back.
On the eve of the team's first playoff game, the UIL ruled Carter ineligible to participate. Based on an anonymous tip, the organization determined that Edwards had an improperly changed algebra grade. The Cowboys would have to forfeit the three games he played while ineligible and would miss the playoffs.
A series of legal challenges followed and, eventually, the final investigation was put off until after the conclusion of the playoffs -- a Carter 31-14 victory over Converse Judson. When the investigation finished in January 1990, Carter was stripped of its championship.
The worst was yet to come. It the spring following their victory, a number of Carter players, including Edwards, would be convicted for their participation in a ring that robbed a number of South Dallas businesses. Edwards was sentenced 16 years in prison and never played another down of competitive football.
It was announced this week that the team will be the subject of an upcoming feature film.
1. DISD Recruiting Scandal Includes Death
Wilmer-Hutchins basketball player Troy Causey was beaten to death. Madison basketball player Johnathan Turner was arrested for the killing. Both players are alleged to have been recruited to play for their respective schools, in violation of UIL regulations.
As the result of an investigation sparked by Causey's death, 15 DISD athletic employees were fired and Madison will likely have to vacate its 2014 state championship.
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