Every sport has it’s dark side and high school football in Texas is no exception. From changing grades and playing ineligible players to substance abuse and violence, these five scandals marred the face of the king of all sports in Texas.
5. The Colleyville Heritage Steroid Scandal
After finding steroids in her son’s athletic bag in September of 2004, a Colleyville Heritage mom approached school administrators after verifying the contents through a local drug store. An investigation into the allegations by the Dallas Morning News led to the school investigating the claims as well. In the end, nine football players at the school admitted to using over the counter steroid-like substances and prescription steroids. The players reportedly got the steroids from a dealer named “Big Mike” who was a fitness trainer. The scandal rocked the affluent community and brought awareness to steroid use by teens.
4. The Fab Five
Cheerleaders capture the crowd’s attention during the game, but one group of Texas high school cheerleaders captured the attention of the entire nation due to their outlandish behavior. Dubbed “The Fab Five,” McKinney North High School’s “Fab Five” became the focus of a made for TV movie when photos of the cheerleaders drinking, scantily clad and engaging in risque behavior landed them in hot water with the cheer sponsor. The movie portrayed the girls as ruthless in their quest to run the school. McKinney North Principal Linda Thret was the mom of one of the “Fab Five” and eventually resigned due to mounting pressure over her lack of discipline with the group.
3. Stamford stripped of title
In 1959, Stamford defeated Brady 19-14 in the state championship. However, the victory only lasted five months when the school became the first in the state to have their title taken from them. A player for Stamford, Wendell Robinson, lived in the town’s fire station and continued to play for the school after his parents moved away from Stamford. Brady rolled through the playoffs that year up until the state game beating Belton (66-8), Taylor (30-8), Jasper (24-0) and Palacios (22-0). Stamford had little trouble in the playoffs with wins over Quanah (43-13), Cisco (32-22), Denver City (14-0) and Olney (15-7). The final score is simply listed as Brady 1 Stamford 0 in the state’s record books.
2. Players assault referee
A video of two football players from John Jay High School in San Antonio went viral in September of 2015 after they blindsided a referee near the end of a game versus Marble Falls. The players were ejected from the game, suspended and an investigation launched. The players reportedly said the refereewas using racial slurs and said they were instructed to hit the ref by their coach, Mack Breed. Breed initially denied any involvement, but in December of 2015 pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily injury, was placed on probation and gave up teaching. The players spent 75 days in the district’s alternative school after the incident. The ref denied any use of racial slurs during the game.
1. Stripped title and prison sentences
Arguably one of the best high school teams ever fielded in Texas, the 1988 Dallas Carter Cowboys were loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. With their sights set on a state championship run, the Cowboys began preparing for the playoffs. On November 10, the UIL shocked Dallas Carter and the entire state when they announced the Cowboys were ineligible for the playoffs. An anonymous tip led the UIL to investigate claims Carter’s star player, Gary Edwards had failed Algebra and had violated the state’s No Pass, No Play policy. The uproar began and a legal battle quickly ensued. Because of the legal challenge, Carter was allowed to go forward in the playoffs and they went on to a state title after defeating Converse Judson in the title game 31-14.
Five days after bringing home the state title, a string of events began that would blemish the reputation of the Dallas Carter program. Three players robbed a Jack in the Box, two star players robbed a video exchange at gunpoint and walked away with $256 and robbed a mexican restaurant taking $11,000. In all, six players were connected with 21 robberies that occurred in Carter neighborhoods.
In January of 1991, after the UIL completed their investigation and the legal battle ended, Dallas Carter was stripped of their title and Converse Judson was named the 1988 5A champions.
Following the string of robberies, six players were sentenced to prison with terms ranging from two to 25 years. The community was stunned. Edwards was sentenced to 16 years and never played another down of football.
The silver lining from one of the biggest scandals in Texas high school football history is the number of players who went on to continue their football careers in college. Jessie Armstead, played for Miami and was the 207th pick in the 8th round of the 1993 NFL draft. He played for the New York Giants and Washington Redskins and was a five time Pro Bowl selection. Armstead is also in the New York Giants Ring of Honor.