Dallas ISD report says grade was changed for SMU recruit

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by BRETT SHIPP / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 10:17 AM

DALLAS -- A Dallas Independent School District internal investigation, prompted by a series of News 8 stories, is raising questions about whether one of SMU's star basketball players should have been allowed to graduate from Kimball High School last year.

Also in question is what SMU knew about a grade change and exactly how the player — Keith Frazier — ended up playing for the Mustangs this season.

In 2012, a WFAA investigation revealed that Frazier and several other players transferred to Kimball for athletic purposes in violation of state athletic rules. Kimball won back-to-back state basketball championships.

Last summer, DISD investigators got a tip that Kimball coaches were pressuring teachers to lift Frazier’s grades in order for him to graduate and be able to play college ball.

According to a DISD audit report obtained by WFAA, Frazier was behind in, or failing, at least three classes in the final days of school in 2013. The report also found that Frazier did not have the necessary class hours to graduate.

His NCAA eligibility was in jeopardy, investigators said.

On May 29, a week after the final days of class for seniors, Frazier's "failing" grade in physics was mysteriously changed to "passing," the report states.

According to the report, Kimball soccer coach and teacher's assistant Demarco King improperly pressured Frazier's physics teacher to change Frazier's grade. When the teacher refused, King admitted to investigators that he changed the grade himself.

King no longer works for the school.

According to the report, assistant Kimball basketball coach Toby Daniels also tried to pressure other teachers to change Frazier's grades.

The report faults Kimball Principal Earl Jones and Assistant Principal Llewellyn Smith for failing to maintain adequate control over campus activities.

In addition, the DISD report raises serious questions about what SMU coaches knew about Frazier's grades — and when they knew it.

Assistant SMU basketball coach Ulric Maligi called Kimball and made several inquiries about Frazier's grades, including the day that Frazier's grade was changed. Maligi allegedly asked Kimball's college advisor how Frazier's grade could be improved.

When investigators contacted SMU basketball officials they took two months to respond.

It's SMU's position that Coach Maligi did nothing wrong, and in no way suggested that Frazier's grades be changed.

SMU officials declined to comment to News Eight about the investigation until they have had a chance to read it.

But following Sunday's SMU victory over Houston, head coach Larry Brown said he did not know about the allegations.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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