DeSOTO — This is unfamiliar territory for Dee Anderson, the DeSoto High School senior. A month in to his senior year, Dee hasn’t played a minute in an actual football game.
“Every night I lose sleep knowing that I can’t play the next day… or the next game… with my team,” he said.
The star wide receiver and LSU commit was taken off the football team at West Mequite High School last year. Mesquite Independent School District confirmed to WFAA that his dismissal was because of “team-related issues.”
He transferred to a new district and school at DeSoto High School, where he can practice, but has been ruled ineligible to play.
“I know it’s hard for me… and I know it’s triple times harder for him,” said Dee’s mother, Michelle Anderson.
She and the family’s attorney are fighting to let Dee play. University Interscholastic League rules forbid transferring for athletic reasons.
“This was a transfer to put this kid in a safer environment,” argued attorney Emmanuel Obi, who alleges that his client was singled out and harassed at his previous school. Obi said a fight that broke out with a former teammate was poorly handled by the coaches and school.
Obi complained about what he called “the lack of any answers about why the distinction between the treatment of players.”
Due to privacy concerns, Mesquite ISD could not go into specifics as to what occurred between Dee Anderson and the former teammate. But the district said his dismissal from the team was “…following a series of events that occurred throughout the spring semester.”
Mesquite ISD provided this statement concerning the former student:
Dee Anderson was ultimately dismissed from the West Mesquite High School football team in May following a series of events that occurred throughout the spring semester. The WMHS coaching staff went above and beyond to keep Anderson on the team in good standing. His ineligibility was determined by the District 86-A Executive Committee, not Mesquite ISD, and is the result of his own decision to move to another district. It was clear to the committee that Anderson was looking at transfer options as early as February, months before his final removal from the WMHS team.
Over the last five years, WFAA has investigated case after case where transfers were permitted at the district level and upheld at the state level. Dee Anderson was ruled ineligible at the district and state level, but on Wednesday, he will get a second hearing in Austin as his attorney presents new evidence on the matter.
Obi said there are too many questions and not enough definite answers to hold back a student with Dee’s promise.
“To have his last year to be on the sideline over a process that hasn’t been particularly clear or fair, we think that’s inappropriate,” the lawyer said.
Dee said he remains committed to LSU. Obi says if he is ruled ineligible to play in DeSoto on Wednesday, he and the family may seek legal action.