The University Interscholastic League released details Thursday morning regarding UIL violation allegations surrounding the resignation of Damien Mobley, the former Waxahachie High School head basketball coach, in a WISD complaint sent to the UIL’s compliance and athletic director.
The complaint was discovered through an open records request filed by The Waxahachie Daily Light on May 26. Mobley resigned May 16 after WISD officials lodged a complaint May 13 to the UIL, stating the following:
“On May 9, it was alleged that the head men’s basketball coach, Damien Mobley, at Waxahachie High School paid a varsity player for taking ‘charging fouls.’ On May 10, Coach Mobley was questioned by the WISD athletic director and high school principal regarding this allegation. Coach Mobley reported that it was true.”
Mobley shared his story on May 19 with the Waxahachie Daily Light, and again after the complaint, stating the allegations were untrue. Following the released of the WISD complaint Thursday, Mobley stuck to his original story.
Mobley said the focal point of WISD’s complaint, reported to both Mark Cousins, the UIL compliance director, and Susan Elva, the UIL athletic director, surrounds allegations of monetary funds given to a player for a lunch during a December film study session at George W. Solis Gymnasium, payment for players to take specific actions on the court and holding practices outside of UIL mandated guidelines.
Under the UIL athletic amateur rule, section 441 of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, meals, snacks or snack foods during or after practices fall under the list of additional valuable considerations that school teams and athletes may accept, if approved by the school.
The filed WISD complaint, however, states that Mobley explained “taking charges” was a team goal and that he rewarded that type of hustle with payment, admitting to making a one-time payment of $4-6 to a WHS graduating senior basketball player, who had no plans of attending college or playing the sport beyond high school, between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8.
“My question is: Why isn’t there an investigation, why didn’t the school district question more than one player and why did they wait so long to report it if it happened in January? When I got called into Greg Reed’s office, I was asked, ‘Have you ever paid players to take charges?’” Mobley said Thursday afternoon. “My answer to them was no. I told them I gave one player money for food. This isn’t Greg’s deal, it’s above his head.
“I got called into the office again and this time, (WISD Superintendent) Dr. (Jeremy) Glenn and Lee Auvenshine were standing there. They pretty much told me to resign and bow out peacefully and they wouldn’t recommend me for termination.”
Auvenshine is WISD’s Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services.
WHS senior Marquavius Wheaton, the player in question, said Thursday he was asked a line of questions by Reed and WHS principal Al Benskin and said he told them he didn’t receive any payments from Mobley — for food or otherwise.
Mobley said the only other coach in the room when the incident allegedly occurred was Joe Wakeland, who died April 21, three weeks before the allegations crossed Reed’s desk.
When asked why he didn’t fight the allegations and plead his case before an emergency board meeting, Mobley said there was little reason to stay where he wasn’t wanted and that he would effectively be removed from his coaching position.
“Dr. Glenn told me if I fought it and won, I still wouldn’t be the head basketball coach,” he continued. “I wouldn’t have my job and even if I stayed there, they’d have control over me. The allegations would always hang over my head. Why would I put my future in jeopardy like that? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Based on section 441 of UIL policy, WISD self-reported and accepted the forfeiture of eight victories between Jan. 8 and Feb. 16 — the dates after the violation that the player continued to compete while allegedly knowing of the violation.
Despite numerous attempts by the Daily Light to contact UIL officials in regards to the investigation and whether WISD would officially forfeit the games, Kate Hector, the UIL secretary and media relations coordinator, could not be reached by press time Thursday.
Greg Reed, the WISD athletic director said Thursday he could not comment about Mobley, the time gap between the violation, and the filed complaint, as well as the possible impact of the forfeited games on the other district opponents.
“There is still not anything I can say regarding the situation,” Reed stated via text message.
By law, WISD administrators can’t comment on personnel matters.
The forfeited games would have no effect on the Runnin’ Indians season because they missed the playoffs, but any victories surrendered by WHS could have impacted another Ellis County district 14-5A team and a basketball program that, with a more realistic chance, could have become motivated to qualify for the UIL playoffs if the complaint had been reported earlier.
During that seven-week span, the Indians went 8-3, finishing the season at 10-7. If losses were given to Waxahachie and wins awarded to Red Oak High School, which finished the season 7-9 in district 14-5A, the shift in records would put the former at 2-15 and the Hawks at 8-8.
Glenn confirmed late Thursday the school district did indeed forfeit the games in accordance with the UIL’s minimum punishment, but declined to comment on Mobley’s remarks.
“We cannot comment on personnel matters,” Glenn said. “What I can say is the last action the school board made was to reinstate coach Mobley’s contract. The head coaching position has been posted on the WISD (HR) website and Greg Reed will lead the search for a new coach.”
That contract renewal was made two weeks before Mobley’s resignation.
Marcus is the sports editor for both the Waxahachie Daily light and Midlothian Mirror. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI. Contact the sports desk at 469-517-1456 and on Twitter by using #WDLsports and #MirrorSportsNB in tweets!