Sweeps Week attack on South Oak Cliff/James Mays II par for the Belo 8 course
I am not trained in the ways of journalism, but I have a question for Brett Shipp: When did taking a few pieces of paper from former employees running copies become investigative reporting? I had respect for Brett Shipp's work in the past, but his ambush of Coach James Mays and Donald Moten last week should not be tolerated.
Brett Shipp entered South Oak Cliff high school through a back door under false pretenses in order to obtain footage for a smear piece that he did for Channel 8. When entering the South Oak Cliff campus, visitors are supposed to enter the front door, go through a security screening and then sign in with school personnel. I know because I witnessed a SOC practice about a week before Shipp and a camera man broke into the school. I followed the rules.
I'm sure Coach Mays was shocked to see the cameras because in the 3 years that SOC has won state championships no one from the station has set foot on the campus. The basketball team was referred to as a "dynasty" in a later piece. Well Channel 8 must have just found out because this is the first I've heard of them reporting on the Golden Bears.
I'm not going in to great detail about Shipp's investigative prowess, but the report seemed to center on a couple of documents. His report made it seem like Coach Mays signed a form to transfer the student in question, when in reality, he signed the paper saying that it was O.K. for the student to enter the athletic period. A coach would not have the authority to change a student out of any class, nor into the "Reconnection" program that the story mentions.
Brett Shipp repeatedly asked Coach Mays did he cheat. His story made it seem as if Mays was avoiding questions when in reality coach was asking Shipp and his crew to follow school protocol. Apparently Shipp thinks having a camera gives you the right to circumvent the rules.
I've known Coach James Mays for about 6 years. Coach Mays and I have attended the same church and men's fellowship with him throughout that time. Each year, as soon as basketball wraps up, Mays begins meeting weekly with the men of the church. He is in attendance every week into the Fall school semester rolls back around. Once school kicks off and he begins to prepare for the basketball season, Mays bids us farewell until after the season (usually following a state title).
Even though we don't see Coach on Monday night, he is still present every Sunday. Coach Mays is part of our church's Safety ministry, making sure those who attend service get around the building alright as well as helping to maintain the security of the building. Coach Mays serves our pastor and our church faithfully in this post every Sunday.
Back on the subject of the Men's Ministry, some of the other local coaches took note of Coach Mays' weekly routine. 2 other coaches began to attend the Monday night Men's meetings after last basketball season. I guess they said if you can't beat them, join them.
In the same spirit, Coach has brought players from his SOC basketball team to church throughout the season to promote solidarity. The week before the Channel 8 story, 4 other coaches met Mays' challenge and brought their players to Friendship-West as well. What a sight it was for the congregations to see 5 teams of young men standing with their coaches.
Coach James Mays II is much more about building men than he is about winning. I have heard of Coach Mays sitting players who were passing classes because their grades were slipping though not failing. I haven't done the investigative work of Brett Shipp, but my sources tell me that 36 or 36 seniors who have played under Coach James Mays have graduated from high school and received a scholarship to play basketball in college. "Changing the grades" of one student athlete and putting the rest of the players at risk is way out of character for Mays.
There have been some great story lines to come out of SOC Basketball. There are players who have won state championships whose parents also won state championships at SOC. There's last year's team who won despite losing one of the nations best players to graduation.
This is the reason Dallas South Blog exists for instances such as this. All that is known is that SOC is accused of what I see as some trumped up charges. None of this has been proven. But all of the good news of the basketball team, players and coaches in the prior three years goes unreported in the mainstream media.
Allegations of racism against head football coach Todd Dodge at UNT have yet to be substantiated. But the Dallas Morning News was quick to solicit quotes -not ambush video after a game while they were still sweating- in support of the former Southlake Carroll coach and his staff. And why has there been no "investigation" in this case? The News, also owned by Belo, gave Mays no such opportunity in the story they ran regarding Channel 8's accusations.
Channel 8, your trash journalism has sickened me. I'm not surprised by Dale Hansen and his comments, but I expect better out of Brett Shipp. I hope Shipp and his bosses have their ducks in a row. An apology won't suffice if Coach Mays is AGAIN cleared of wrongdoing in this matter.