Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
Deion Sanders says he has opened a school instead of just coaching a team so he can provoke change.
Former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders said he is frustrated over an ongoing effort to keep athletes from his charter school out of district play.
Sanders said people within the Dallas school district feel threatened by Prime Prep Academy because it provides students a choice both educationally and athletically.
"They're not teaching these kids or coaching these kids worth a darn," he said. "They know we will, and they mess around and let our JV kids beat their varsity. What does that say about them?"
The executive committee for District 11 3A athletics initially voted against playing Prime Prep Academy's football team the team only has 30 players, most of them junior varsity.
Since taking that vote, the district went a step further, seeking approval to drop all Prime Prep's teams as district opponents a week before the school even opens for the first time and long before many of the other sports seasons even begin.
The University Interscholastic League told NBC 5 that its has yet to see District 11 3A's rationale for making the move. The UIL said it would not comment until it sees the explanation.
District 11 3A is supposed to turn over a copy of the minutes of its meeting that explains the reasons.
Prime Prep has already announced it will appeal.
The school currently has between 300 and 400 students enrolled in its Dallas campus, which teaches grades six through 12.
Sanders said many students are late enrollees and expects many more when the charter school begins classes Monday. Because of that, it's difficult to gauge how many students will want to participate in each sport.
In the meantime, the players at Prime Prep are left facing a four-game, non-district season.
"We're just like everybody else -- we're kids that want to play football," James Proche II said.
He said he's heard rumors the team is made up of All-Stars. But many of his teammates are playing competitive football for the first time, he said.
Others say they get teased with comments from kids yelling, "four games, four games," in reference to their shortened season.
Sanders said he's working to schedule at least 4 more games to replace the district games he lost.
In the meantime, his mission to educate kids has taught him that there are adults who have much to learn about why he's opening a school as opposed to simply coaching, Sander said.
"I'm trying to provoke change, and you trippin' over some football," he said.