DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The investigation into the murder of a Dallas Independent School District high school student leads police to possible sport recruiting infractions by top administrators and coaches.
Now more than a dozens adults, including DISD athletic director Jeff Johnson, Wilmer-Hutchins High School basketball coach John Burley, and former Madison High School principal and current assistant athletic director Marian Willard, are all out of a job. The school leaders are all accused of taking part in the recruiting scandal.
According to Superintendent Mike Miles the recruiting scam was a widespread problem that existed because of a lack of oversight, and a group of adults disregard for the rules.
Two of athletic director Johnson’s assistants and Madison High School basketball coach Roderick Johnson are also among those who are unemployed today.
The alleged recruitment violations surfaced by virtue of the investigation into the murder of Troy Causey. The 18-year-old was a basketball star at Wilmer Hutchins High School when he was beaten to death in front of his Oak Cliff home in March. The teenager had severe head injuries, including a fractured skull, and died several days after the attack.
To date only one teenager, 19-year-old Johnathan Turner, has been charged in Causey’s death. At the time of Causey’s murder, Turner was a student and basketball player at Madison High School.
After discovering information during the criminal investigation of Causey’s death Dallas police contacted DISD officials who then started an internal investigation centered on the illegal recruiting claims. Individuals had alleged to police and later to the DISD that school leaders were bringing students into schools to play basketball when they did not live within the confines of the district.
Friday Superintendent Miles said, in essence, that 15 adults connected to the DISD school district and their athletic programs — from basketball coaches, assistant directors and others — are now out.
“One student was killed a couple months back and the Dallas Police Department is investigating that, has been and will continue to investigate that,” Miles explained during a press conference. “As a result of their investigation we [DISD] received word that there may have been some recruitment violations, and so we started to investigate those violations.”
Among other things, the firings came after allegations of students being recruited to schools where they shouldn’t be playing, and in some cases living in houses where they shouldn’t have been living.
Miles said the actions of the adults not only put the district in a bad light, but also put adults and students in danger. “Violations have continued to occur and as a result, in some cases, the safety of our students and the integrity of our athletic programs have been compromised,” he said.
Madison High took home basketball state championship trophies in 2013 and 2014. But it was the murder investigation involving Madison basketball player Johnathan Turner that led the DISD to begin the probe into allegations of improper athlete recruitment.
Tammy Simpson is the mother of murdered teen Troy Causey. After learning of the firings and recruiting accusations she said, “It’s behavior that has been repeated, and repeated, and nothing has ever been done about it. I think my son’s case has brought forth for the light to be heavily put on these coaches, the administrators, [and] the athletic directors of the district.”
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