Coach and players harass reporter at Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep Academy practice

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It's been a wild month for Deion Sanders and his new foray into high school education. After announcing that his team would be nicknamed "winning" and then seeing area authorities rule all of the school's teams ineligible for competition, Sanders found himself mired in a controversy on Wednesday after one of his co-head coaches and the team's players confronted a well known Dallas reporter while he attempted to film the team's practice session.

As reported and captured on video by WFAA, well known prep sports reporter Brett Shipp was filming a Prime Prep practice when one of the team's co-head coaches, George Hegamin walked up to Shipp and angrily demanded that he stop filming practice. Because Prime Prep was practicing in a city park, Shipp was well within his right to continue filming whatever he saw.

With that in mind, Shipp walked across the street from the park and continued filming. That move clearly got underneath Hegamin's skin, with the coach and a swarm of his players then stopping practice, walking across the street and confronting the reporter by throwing aggressive questions at him as quickly as possible.

The interaction between Shipp and the players was tense and, for at least a moment, seemed as if it could have veered into some kind of a physical altercation. It didn't, which was lucky for all involved.

Throughout the entire hullabaloo, there was one notable absence: Sanders himself, who remained back on the practice field and stayed far away from the cameras.

Shipp's goal at the practice was to clarify whether Prime Prep would field a team during the 2012 season. Despite the ruling that bans Prime Prep from all varsity action within its own UIL district, the school could compete on a sub-varsity level for the 2012-13 school year, then revisit the ban before fall 2013.

Throughout the entire eligibility dispute, Prime Prep has insisted that it plans to kick off the season on Friday against Dallas (Texas) Parish Episcopal School on Friday. That game can go forward because Parish Episcopal is a private school competing in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which falls outside the blanket of UIL.

No matter where Prime Prep does or doesn't play, the altercation on Wednesday doesn't help the schools image at a time when its motivations are being brought under much higher scrutiny.

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