When legendary Duncanville (Texas) high school girls basketball coach Cathy Self-Morgan resigned amidst a firestorm of illegal recruiting rumors, it was assumed in many corners that the University Interscholastic League (UIL) had found significant evidence of violations. Thus, it was surprising when a Duncanville investigation released Thursday found, “insufficient credible evidence,” to prove wrongdoing on the part of Self-Morgan.
So Self-Morgan is totally exonerated, right? Not quite so fast.
Dallas Morning News reporter Ben Baby was able to gain access to the following text message exchange between Self-Morgan and an AAU coach. While the thread begins with discussions about opening a gym, it quickly transforms into a discussion about players potentially joining Duncanville and even includes queries about one player’s mother gaining a job in the district … with Self-Morgan going so far as to question whether she might be qualified to serve as the school’s freshman basketball coach.
With all due respect to the Duncanville School District’s investigatory process, that is one damning string of text messages. If Self-Morgan isn’t asking those questions to probe about recruiting the players, why is she asking them?
There are plenty of ways and reasons for high school coaches and their AAU counterparts to come into contact with one another. Could some incidental contact there introduce a player to a different high school coach and eventually influence that player’s decision to play elsewhere? Sure.
But this is much more explicit than that, and it stands to reason it isn’t the only example of such behavior from Self-Morgan. And it certainly helps explain why Self-Morgan would resign unilaterally rather than attempt to fight her way through a series of recriminating text message strings and cell phone call logs.
Does this one string of suspicious, leading text messages invalidate what Self-Morgan accomplished over a 42-year career coaching girls basketball? Of course not. Does it diminish the 105 consecutive wins she racked up with Duncanville, the five state titles with the Pantherettes and three with Westlake (Austin) High School? Nope.
But it does take a bit of the luster off some of her later titles, simply because of the reputational taint that spreads from the violations she’s accused of. If Self-Morgan truly is innocent, she needs to come forward and offer a straightforward explanation for why she was asking an AAU coach about whether their athletes might transfer in to play at Duncanville while simultaneously alluding to employment opportunities for their parents.