Did Kimball High win state title fair and square?

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by Brett Shipp / WFAA.com

WFAA

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 4:55 PM

DALLAS — The Kimball Knights are a basketball powerhouse in Texas; 4-A state champs two years in a row.

But did they win it fair and square?

Much of the credit goes to junior guard Keith Frazier, who scored 17 points in the state championship game. Frazier is also ranked as one of the top 10 players in the country, according to Rivals.com.

But should he really have been playing for Kimball High?

For the first three months of the 2011-2012 school year, Frazier lived at a house in Irving and was destined to be a star player for the Irving Tigers.

But in early November of last year, Frazier and his family picked up and moved out of the Irving residence where they'd lived for three years.

Days later, Frazier enrolled at Kimball, rated by the state as an "academically unacceptable" high school in south central Dallas.

But before he could play basketball for Kimball, Frazier's transfer had to be approved by the Dallas ISD's District 11 4-A executive committee, made up of representatives of each school in Kimball's district.

The key question asked by the committee: Did Frazier move so he could play basketball for the reigning state champs? To do that would be a violation of state high school basketball rules prohibiting players for moving for "athletic purposes."

When the executive committee met last Nov. 18, according to meeting minutes, Irving varsity basketball coach Steven Perry showed up and lodged an objection. Coach Perry "believed Frazier was improperly influenced to attend Kimball" by his "AUU (summer league) coach."

But Frazier's mother, Sherry Pulliam, told committee members she had to move because her rent went was being raised and she could no longer afford the house in Irving. She said no one influenced her move to the Kimball school zone.

One committee member asked Frazier, what "the odds were that in a five day period he would land at Kimball, the defending state champions?"

Frazier's response: "It can happen."

The committee then voted to approve the transfer.

Around the same time the transfer was approved, News 8 found the following quotes on the Twitter account of Frazier's mother:

"...this is a cut throat business, I'm just saying."

"...I think he got stock in that school."

"...these kids are not y'all kids... it's not personal it's business."

Frazier went on to become one of Kimball's top stars. But News 8 -- KENS 5's sister station in Dallas -- has learned the transfer may not have happened as Frazier's mother described.

A copy of the lease obtained by News 8 and according to the Dallas Housing Authority, Pulliam's federally-subsidized rent could not have gone up in October as she claimed. It was locked in at $505 a month.

In fact, according to the landlord, Pulliam moved out of the house in Irving without notice, and still owes back rent.

According to the Dallas Housing Authority, Pulliam appears to have committed a “breach of obligation." That means she broke the lease and no longer qualifies to receive federal housing assistance.

Just days ago, News 8 Investigates caught up with Sherry Pulliam, and her story of why she moved had apparently changed.

"At the time I was in the process of trying to relocate and find a house, and my landlord was selling, so I was just looking for something," she said.

According to the Dallas Housing Authority, a landlord can't sell a house as long as the tenants are abiding by the lease.

Again, last November, Pulliam claimed she had to move because the rent was going up.

Another question: If checking out the story was as easy as asking for the lease, why didn't DISD officials discover conflicts in the family's story?

Getting that answer has been difficult since Dallas ISD Athletic Director Jeff Johnson declined our repeated requests for an interview.

He did tell us this via an e-mail message:

"Our staff pays very close attention to UIL [University Interscholastic League] rules. The District Executive Committee... not the Chairman or anyone in the Athletics Office, is allowed to manipulate the process."

Johnson said he is concerned by questions being raised in the News 8 investigation.

Our investigation continues. In the coming days, we will take a closer look at residency issues involving the entire Kimball state championship teams, as well as members of last year's state championship team.

Even if it's found that only Keith Frazier transferred for athletic reasons, Kimball could be forced to forfeit all games that Frazier played in — including this year's state title game.

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