South Oak Cliff High School in the suburbs of Dallas has become a local embarrassment, cheating to win basketball championships by changing grades and using ineligible players. The grade-changing scandal looks tame next to new claims that are emerging from the investigation. Frank Hammond, the whistleblower in the case, says that former Principal Donald Moten disciplined troubled students by making them bare-knuckle brawl in a steel utility cage:
"It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff," said former South Oak Cliff employee Hammond, a guidance counselor. "They were taking these boys downstairs to fight. And it was sanctioned by the principal and security."
Moten denies the allegations to the Dallas Morning News:
"That's barbaric. You can't do that at a high school. You can't do that anywhere," said Moten, who resigned from the Dallas Independent School District in 2008. "Ain't nothing to comment on. It never did happen. I never put a stop to anything because it never happened."
The report says there were at least two incident between 2003 and 2005 and another one where a security guard was going to fight a student. Moten stepped in to stop the fight before the combatants (kids not actually pictured) entered the cage.
South Oak Cliff was stripped of its 2005 and 2006 boys basketball state titles. Darrell Arthur, one of three players implicated, won an NCAA championship with Kansas last year. Kendrake Johnigan spent the last two years on the JUCO level at Eastfield College. Kevin Rogers (12.5 ppg) was the third leading scorer this season for Baylor.