Duncanville boys vacates state title, girls banned from post-season play

Photo by Jim Klenke

UPDATE: Friday, November 11 at 12:11 p.m

Duncanville boys basketball has enacted a self-imposed ban on post-season play for the 2022-23 season following the UIL's decision to strip the program of the 2021-22 Class 6A title, first reported by the Dallas Morning News. The decision comes after it was announced that the UIL State Executive Committee is set to meet Tuesday, November 15 to discuss further penalties.

 

The UIL State Executive Committee (SEC) on Monday morning slammed severe sanctions down on one of the state’s most successful boys and girls’ basketball programs within the span of an hour. The penalties levied against Duncanville High School’s boys and girls’ programs are some of the harshest handed down by the committee in recent years. 

Duncanville’s girl’s basketball team, labeled by many the state-title favorite in Class 6A was given a one-year playoff ban and placed on three years’ probation by the SEC. DHS girls’ basketball head coach LaJeanna Howard was also suspended for coaching for a year. The allegations stem around the illegal recruitment of players, the incident in question was a social media posting indicating a “tryout” in which at least one player who did not attend Duncanville High School attended. 

Howard stated the posting was incorrect and that Duncanville was simply having “open gym,” but she also indicated her responsibility for the program and all social media postings related to the girl’s basketball program. Duncanville’s girls program less than a year ago just had their probation end in relation to former head coach Cathy Self-Morgan and recruiting violations. Originally Duncanville athletic director Dwight Weaver indicated Howard received a punishment of two days suspension after the incident, which was then increased to two months by Duncanville ISD superintendent Dr. Marc Smith. 

The UIL in the course of the meeting also had questions about the Pantherette’s schedule and if Duncanville’s schedule included too many tournaments. 

Duncanville’s girls basketball program has had five players transfer in this off-season, but they will not have a chance at a state title in 2022-2023 after Monday’s ruling. 

Not long after the UIL dropped the hammer on the Duncanville girl’s program they turned their attention to the boys program who had won three straight state championships. 

The case against the boys basketball program centered around the eligibility of Anthony Black, who is now enrolled at the University of Arkansas. Black transferred into Duncanville from Coppell before the start of the 2021-2022 school year and was ruled ineligible the by the UIL as having moved into Duncanville for athletic purposes. 

Black’s family challenged the UIL’s ruling last November and received a temporary restraining order to allow Black to play. Duncanville ISD and head coach David Peavey, according to the UIL, were aware of the potential consequences for playing a player whose eligibility was still a question and had not been fully adjudicated by the court system. Peavey and Black's mother, Jennifer Black, has been dating and living with Peavey for multiple years. Jennifer Black attested that Anthony Black's move was motivated by domestic abuse allegations from his biological father.

The legal case made it to the Texas Supreme Court, who vacated the court of appeals judgment and the trial court’s temporary injunction and dismissed the case as moot, thus the timing for the hearing according to the UIL. 

“We don’t have a choice,” UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said. “We have to enforce the rule, or why else have the rules? The district committee ruled the student changed schools for athletic purposes by a 7-0 vote, the student was ineligible. We contacted the school, we contacted the superintendent, we contacted the athletic director, we contacted the coach. They all knew the consequences.”

Duncanville, only played Black in a portion of their district schedule and in all of their playoff games en route to winning the state title. The UIL asked Peavey during the hearing if that was a “strategic  maneuver,” to which Coach Peavey denied.

The UIL then moved to punishment specifically pertaining to Peavey and he was also given a one-year suspension. The program was issued a three-year probation period and a public reprimand. The UIL also left the door open to review additional sanctions for the Duncanville boys basketball program, which would likely include a potential post-season ban.

The SEC also gave a public reprimand to Duncanville ISD Athletic Director Dwight Weaver and multiple times in the hearing seemed to question if the coaches in the athletic program had a full understanding of the UIL rules. 

At conclusion of the hearing SEC member Mike Motheral remarked to Weaver, “Mr. Weaver, you need to get things in order.” 

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