Written by Brandon George
Pinkston's Tony Mitchell, a Missouri basketball signee, won't graduate Saturday after failing part of TAKS test
Pinkston senior Tony Mitchell, one of the nation's top high school basketball players, said Thursday he won't graduate with his class but expects to play at Missouri during the 2010-11 season.
Pinkston's 2010 senior class is scheduled to graduate at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ellis Davis Fieldhouse. Through his Facebook page, Mitchell said Thursday he isn't graduating on time because he failed the math portion of the TAKS test by one point. Mitchell said he will retake the test in July.
Mitchell, who has yet to earn a college entrance exam score high enough to enroll at Missouri, said he expects to graduate from Pinkston this summer.
The 6-8 Mitchell, who can play all five positions, averaged 20.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game en route to being named SportsDay's 2010 All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Mitchell, who was also a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-state selection, led Pinkston to a 26-10 record and its first trip to the Class 4A Region II tournament.
Mitchell's eligibility was first called into question Wednesday in a WFAA-TV (Ch. 8) investigative report that cited unidentified sources.
As a junior, Mitchell played at the Center of Life Academy in Miami before transferring to Pinkston last summer. The Center of Life Academy is a private school accredited by a home schooling association. The Dallas ISD considers it a non-accredited school, DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said Thursday.
Sources told WFAA that 14 of the high school credits Mitchell brought from the Miami school were not transferable at Pinkston. But last November, according to the TV report, Pinkston principal Norma Villegas allowed Mitchell to quickly make up the credits. Villegas didn't return calls to her office Thursday.
Sources told WFAA that Mitchell took the equivalent of nine makeup exams in two days - five of them during a two-hour period - and passed, effectively going from a freshman at Pinkston to qualifying as a senior.
Dahlander said it is the district's policy for students to be given "credit by exam tests."
"It doesn't have anything to do with a student's eligibility, but it does have to do with course credits and academic credits," Dahlander said.
Dahlander said the DISD's Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating allegations relating to testing at Pinkston. He said the investigation should conclude in about a week and that he couldn't comment any further because of privacy laws.
Sources told WFAA that as a result of the DISD investigation, Mitchell's makeup test credits were taken away.
Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said Thursday while attending the Big 12 meetings in Kansas City, Mo., "that isn't something we'd necessarily comment on now."
The DISD began its investigation earlier this year. Last year during non-district play, Mitchell played in a game while ineligible. Pinkston reported it to the UIL and forfeited the game. Because of the mistake, Pinkston boys basketball coach Nick Smith will be suspended for the first game of the 2010-11 season.
"Man, I would love to say something," Smith said Thursday, "but I can't speak on a student."
Mitchell said he's not concerned about his eligibility.
"It doesn't bother me. I'm OK," Mitchell said via Facebook. "[I'm going to] just keep my head up and stay positive. People that know me and is close to me know the truth."
Staff writer Chuck Carlton in Kansas City contributed to this report.