A television report that Kansas basketball star Darrell Arthur may have been ineligible to play at his Dallas high school has fueled speculation about whether he should have ever played for the national champion Jayhawks.
A math teacher at South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas told WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth that Arthur's grades were improperly altered to show he passed math when he hadn't.
The 6-foot-9 Kansas sophomore was instrumental in leading Kansas to its national championship, finishing second in scoring at 12.8 points a game and second in rebounding. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds in Kansas' national title win against Memphis.
Arthur has applied for early entry into the NBA draft but did not sign with an agent, so he could return to Kansas.
Arthur was one of the nation's top recruits out of high school. The McDonald's All-American led South Oak Cliff to consecutive state titles, earning tournament MVP both times. However, the school had to forfeit its 2006 state championship because of similar academic problems with another player, Kendrake Johnigan.
The station said the NCAA told it that if a player is found to be ineligible, his college team might have to forfeit any or all games involving that student.
But Jim Marchiony, KU's associate athletic director for external affairs, said he believed that the investigation into Arthur likely would not affect the school's basketball program.
"This is something that happened in high school," Marchiony said. "Everything that is discussed right now is speculation. I know the media and fans like to speculate, but that's not something we participate in."
Marchiony said high schools send athletes' transcripts to the NCAA, which determines whether an athlete is eligible to play in college. Because the NCAA declared Arthur eligible, Kansas would not have known about any grading problems in high school, he said.
"I believe that the school district is looking into it," Marchiony said. "Right now, the only thing any of us can do is wait to see the result of that process."
A secretary at South Oak Cliff, who would not give her name, said no one at the school was available for comment and referred all questions to the high school association.
The school district said in a news release that it was investigating allegations of grade changing at South Oak Cliff but would not comment until the investigation is complete. The district also said it had hired an outside firm to review the district's existing policies regarding student academic achievement eligibility, with a focus on athletics.
The NCAA also said it would not comment until the high school association's investigation is complete.
"Until the Dallas Independent School District has concluded its investigation, it is premature for the NCAA to speculate on this matter," Stacey Osburn, a spokeswoman for the NCAA, said in a news release.
WFAA said Arthur's math teacher, Winford Ashmore, showed it documents to prove that Arthur's grades were changed three times.
Ashmore said that during Arthur's junior season in 2004-05, he did not receive any grades during his fall semester but that his grade was changed to a 70 in September 2005 without explanation.
He also said that during Arthur's freshman year, he told school officials that Arthur would fail his class despite their request to pass him. Days later, Arthur was dropped from Ashmore's class without the teacher's permission, WFAA said, and later was given a grade of 70.
The station also reported that Arthur failed math in the spring of 2003 with a grade of 64. But school records showed that in January of 2005, Moten allowed the failing grade to be changed to a 72.
James Mays, Arthur's basketball coach at South Oak Cliff, told the Lawrence-Journal World that the report was "totally ludicrous." He said one of Arthur's grades was changed due to teacher error.
"We've been fighting this with (WFAA) since last year," he said.
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