Written by Corbett Smith
11-3A DEC: Ex-Arlington Grace Prep basketball players Emmanuel Mudiay, Karviar Shepherd, Damon Collins denied eligibility at Prime Prep
Eleven students at Prime Prep Academy were ruled ineligible for varsity play by the 11-3A district executive committee Wednesday, including two nationally ranked basketball players who transferred from TAPPS state champion Arlington Grace Prep.
Junior Emmanuel Mudiay and senior Karviar Shepherd, both highly sought recruits who attended Grace Prep last season, had their previous athletic participation forms rejected, along with former teammate Damon Collins.
Prime Prep senior Jordan Mickey — another Grace Prep transfer and LSU pledge — was approved on a 3-2 vote by the committee, composed of administrators and coaches from Madison, Roosevelt, Wilmer-Hutchins, Ferris and Irving North Hills.
The tense meeting was the latest conflict between Deion Sanders’ new charter school and rival administrators.
These decisions are hardly final. The ultimate ruling belongs to the UIL state executive committee, which will likely not address the issue before Oct. 24.
Prime Prep Academy co-founder D.L. Wallace said he planned to appeal Wednesday’s vote, stating that the incongruity of the committee’s actions compels him to do so.
“If you are asking me whether I think the committee had its mind made up before the meeting, to a certain extent, I do,” Wallace said.
UIL athletic director Mark Cousins stated after last week’s DEC meeting that any ruling could be reviewed under the powers of the state board — meaning that Mickey’s eligibility might still be under review.
The PAPFs were designed to determine two key factors, whether transfers established residency in the charter school’s home attendance zone (for Prime Prep, Dallas ISD’s borders), and that they did not transfer for athletic purposes.
In a back-and-forth exchange with Sanders before rejecting every Grace Prep transfer, Ferris ISD athletic director Aaron Emeyabbi said he believed that former Grace Prep players had transferred for athletic purposes. Emeyabbi pointed to Prime Prep’s basketball coach Ray Forsett, formerly at Grace Prep, as the reason.
The transfer for Mudiay — considered the best junior point guard prospect in the nation, with offers from Kentucky and Kansas — was voted down, 4-1. Shepherd (6-10, 225), who committed to TCU on Monday, was denied on a 3-1 vote, with Wilmer-Hutchins’ Elzie Barnett abstaining.
Early on, the committee approved 10 PAPFs, from transfers coming within the Dallas ISD attendance zone.
Of those denied eligibility, five were barred because they did not live in the Dallas ISD attendance zone. Three Denton Ryan transfers, including senior basketball player Marcus Holcomb, were rejected, largely on last week’s testimony by Denton Ryan football coach Joey Florence. Florence said he believed the players transferred for athletic purposes.
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