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Investigation into murder of DISD basketball player reveals recruiting secrets

Brutal murder of DISD basketball player, Troy Causey, reveals recruiting improprieties and fabricated residency records.
Brutal murder of DISD basketball player, Troy Causey, reveals recruiting improprieties and fabricated residency records.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

School officials at the Dallas Independent School District respond to shocking revelations involving the brutal murder of a Dallas student in March “and a recruiting operation happening at DISD,” according to ABC's News 8 Daybreak report Saturday, June 7. Caught in the middle of a major recruitment scandal at DISD were student athletes and many of their state championships. The district responded with the firing of 15 school officials, including two high school coaches — Roderick Johnson of James Madison High School and John Burley of Wilmer-Hutchins High School. The incident surrounding two high school basketball stars from competing schools, leaving one student dead and the other arrested for the murder of his friend, was the catalysis for the internal investigation by the district and the ensuing dismissals of school personnel announced by Superintendent Mike Miles on Friday, June 6.

The death of Troy Causey of Wilmer-Hutchins in March was investigated by the school district following accusations by the mother of the young basketball player and victim that the coach who had recruited her son was covering up vital details behind his death. Troy had gotten into a fight with his friend and roommate, Jonathan Turner of Madison High School, resulting in Troy's death and Turner being charged with his murder. Tammy Simpson, Causey's mother, complained to the district about John Burley's refusal to answer her questions regarding the murder of her son and, according to the Morning News, cooperated with the district recruitment inquiry to discover answers to her questions.

On that tragic day in March the two friends ended up at a distant relative's home where both boys had lived together, when the fight broke out, according to the educational blog of the Dallas Morning News. It was alleged both had been ineligibly recruited by their respective coaches since neither had lived within the school zones of either of the schools they attended. Further allegations of doctored records, improper recruiting, and falsified residency documents caused the termination of DISD athletic directory Jeff Johnson and assistant directors Marian Willard and Goree Johnson, also the father of Madison High coach, Roderick Johnson.

Superintendent Mike Miles said “the lack of accountability is unacceptable and it was time to act,” reported News 8. The superintendent stated, “And, when that doesn't happen — and it doesn't happen over a long period of time — then, we need to hold ourselves accountable.”