If Deion Sanders thought his Prime Prep Academy was ready for "prime time," he'll have to wait at least one year to see how his student athletes stack up on the field against the competition in District 11-3A.
Sanders, who announced back in March that he was opening two tuition-free charter schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was all set to take the reigns as the head coach of the football team this season, and had lofty goals of not only competing right away in football, but every sport.
But those goals were tabled on Friday when, according to the Dallas Morning News, Prime Prep announced it wouldn't be ready to play an eight-game varsity football schedule this season in District 11-3A. Interim athletic director Cleveland Starr told district officials "that up to 80 percent of Prime Prep's 30 football players lived outside of the school's home boundary, making them ineligible for varsity."
While the move came as a complete shock to district officials, who already had the charter school penciled in for the upcoming season that starts in two weeks, what came as an even bigger shock was what the district did next.
In footage provided to The Dallas Morning News by WFAA investigative reporter Brett Shipp, the D.E.C. voted to not only exclude Prime Prep from district participation in football, but in all sports at all high school levels.
Based on the report from WFAA, Prime Prep will be forced to only play non-district football games this upcoming season; the rest of the school's varsity sports have also been barred from competing in District 11-3A this season.
The shocking decision apparently stems from the charter school's inability to meet its initial goal to have a football team in place before the start of the 2012-13 school year. Even though Prime Prep will have to wait to play a varsity schedule -- the team will instead play a four-game junior varsity schedule -- the school believed it would still be allowed to compete in other sports on the varsity level.
"It's my understanding that if we can field proper teams in all other varsity sports — like volleyball or basketball — we'll play," Prime Prep co-founder D.L. Wallace told the Dallas Morning News. "If the DEC ruled that Prime Prep was not allowed to play any varsity sports, that ruling would be appealed to the UIL state executive committee."
That likely means Prime Prep could be on the verge of lodging an appeal with the UIL state executive committee. With little time to look over the case and make a formal ruling, it's difficult to say what the outcome will be with the season on the horizon.
For the moment, however, it looks like Prime Prep is stuck in a holding pattern when it comes to its future on the playing field. For a school that named its new mascot "Winning" just last week, it doesn't look like Prime Prep will be doing much of that this season. At least not on the varsity level.