Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy has struggled with its athletic program in its first year. First the varsity football team was sidelined and now the University Interscholastic League has called a technical foul against the charter school's basketball team.
Last year four star basketball players transferred from Arlington's Grace Prep, a school with one of the top basketball programs in the country, to the new Prime Prep.
In October they were ruled indelible by the 11-3A district where Prime Prep would play. The UIL recently upheld the ruling for three of the four boys.
"Three students from Prime Prep were denied there appeals for varsity eligibility, upholding the previous ruling of the district executive committees. After hearing testimony from all interested parties, it was ruled that the student athletes changed schools for athletic reasons," the UIL said in a statement on its website.
"I just feel devastated because the kids we want to play have no other choice but to play and that's what we came here to do. We came here to learn and we want to play," said Damon Collins, one of the ineligible players.
"It's the game I love so it definitely hurts. But like my mom tells me, keep God first and keep praying," added Emmanuel Mudiay, who was also ruled ineligible.
Coach Ray Forsett denies the boys were recruited.
"That's the crazy thing about it is I got the job late. School had started. It was late August when I got the job. Those kids were already over here," he said.
Coach Ron Johnson from Madison High School was among the high school coaches who first voiced concerns.
"Our main concern was some of the top-ranked kids in the nation all leaving one school to go to another school along with the coach, it just didn't seem kosher to us," he said. "We just want Prime Prep staff to follow the rules. That's what we stand by."
Forsett contends that the students transferred from a private school where their parents were paying $8,000 to $10,000 per year in tuition. Prime Prep is a free charter school.
But the UIL did not believe the financial reason was the main reason for the boys' move.
"In all this mess it hurts the kids… all this adult drama," Forsett said.
KDFW FOX 4
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