DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Prime Prep Academy, a charter school co-founded by NFL Hall of Fame player Deion Sanders, has withdrawn from the University Interscholastic League (UIL) amidst growing criticism surrounding its athletic program.
“After repeated attempts to work with District 11-3A, we just discovered that our best interests for our student body was to pursue an independent athletic competition schedule,” said school co-founder DL Wallace to 105.3 The Fan’s Elf & Slater.
Listen to Deion Sanders and DL Wallace with Elf & Slater
A District 11-3A ruling last month left three highly-touted basketball transfer students ineligible for the coming season after allegations surfaced that the players were illegally recruited. A fourth player, whose case was reviewed, was also recently ruled ineligible.
The school denies the allegations and believes the investigations and accusations surrounding their program are unjustified.
“It’s just nonsense and we’re sick and tired of being ridiculed and the spotlight placed on us negatively,” said Sanders. “We don’t deserve that.”
The school will now be unable to participate in district play and will be excluded from competing for state titles in all sports. But Sanders doesn’t believe this will diminish the school’s purpose.
“We don’t care about state titles. We care about getting kids to college. That’s been our goal from day one.”
The program still plans to field a full schedule for their athletic teams, but will have to find games outside of their district and region. Wallace believes that by playing a national schedule, players will be given the opportunity to travel more and play more games, which in turn will prepare them better for college.
“We have a unique opportunity with Prime Prep because of Deion’s involvement and the athletic coaches that we have to play a more national schedule,” said Wallace. “Those teams that are in UIL can’t compete in certain national tournaments. As an independent organization, we have the opportunity to do so.”
The charter school submitted a letter to the UIL on Wednesday with their intentions to resign. The letter was released on the school’s website.
To: University Interscholastic League
From: Prime Prep Academy
CC: School Board, Executive Team
Re: Notification of Withdrawal from UIL
This correspondence serves as official notification of the decision of Prime Prep Academy to withdraw its membership in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) effective immediately.
On November 28, 2012, the Prime Prep Academy Governance Board voted to dissolve the relationship with UIL. The board determined it was in the best interest of our students to pursue an independent athletic competition schedule due to the lack of cooperation, support and fair treatment from District 11-3A.
After repeated attempts to work amicably with our new district partners, it became increasingly obvious that the vision of Prime Prep Academy to offer its student body a uniquely fulfilling and well-rounded academic and extra-curricular experience could not be completely achieved through this UIL relationship. Although there may be opportunities to revisit this alliance in the future, it is the determination of the Prime Prep Academy Governance Board and Executive Team to forge an exciting new path for its entire student body aimed at increasing collegiate exposure and scholarship opportunities.
DL Wallace, Executive Director
Prime Prep Academy
cc: Prime Prep Governance Board
cc: UIL State Executive Committee