Mac Engel

July 19, 2014

It’s hard to believe Deion Sanders’ Enron Defense

Prime Prep Academy is in big trouble, but please don’t blame Prime Time himself.

The last person you would think Deion Sanders would ever be linked to is the late Ken Lay, but both men have, and are, employing what is now known as the “Enron Defense.”

Lay, the former CEO of Enron, denied any knowledge of his company’s brazen financial reporting that resulted in record profits until the company’s collapse that had tentacles worldwide.

Sanders is the co-founder of the charter school Prime Prep Academy, and he also has denied any wrongdoing in the collapse of the school that bears his name.

Like Lay, buying Deion’s Enron Defense is difficult.

Prime Prep Academy was notified Tuesday by the Texas Education Agency that it is moving to revoke its charter. Since the school opened in 2011, it has provided for those in need but is more known for celebrity and controversy. It has been a nightmare for NCAA schools trying to accept the kids who sign letters of intent.

“I don’t know what’s going on over there, but it damn sure isn’t about education,” one Texas Division I coach told me this past week.

No matter, just know it’s not Deion’s fault.

In an interview on 105.3 The Fan, Deion basically blamed the whole collapse on fellow co-founder D.L. Wallace. And that the reason the board members tried to fire Prime Time from the Prime Prep Academy was because he tried to stop the abuse of funds.

“Why do you think a guy is terminated from his school?” Sanders told the radio station. “Because he’s stopping the hustle.”

All that is missing is his cape.

This is no different than when Lay blamed Enron on his subordinates, Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow. Like Deion, Lay had no idea.

Deion says the reason Wallace, and others, were able to run rampant is because he was focused on his divorce and ensuing custody battle. That’s fascinating, because he had more than enough time to serve as an analyst for the NFL Network, which requires his presence at its studios in Los Angeles.

Unlike former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson’s Carver Academy in San Antonio, the Prime Prep Academy always seemed to be about serving Deion’s ego as a Father Flanagan to those kids (athletes?) in need. The school provided the chance for Deion to attract kids he could guide through to the NCAA and, perhaps, to the pros.

With campuses in Fort Worth and Dallas, the school actually served to help many people who needed it, but the primary function always seemed to be sports more than education.

In fairness to Prime Prep, there are a lot of charter schools across the country that are de facto sports academies, some of which fight through NCAA clearinghouse issues for eligibility.

But Deion always sells the plight of the kids, and ever so often will fire out some Bible bullets to sufficiently gag his critics. The problem is that it’s not working. No one is buying it.

When a person’s name is on the building, letterhead or academy, he bears some burden of responsibility. Deion won’t even concede that.

Deion is good as an analyst because he is an egomaniac who is unafraid to speak candidly, but those abilities do not necessarily translate into an effective administrator for a charter school. He wanted to slap his name on a school, coach when convenient and act like a god to the kids who worshiped at the altar of his celebrity.

Deion has too much stupid pride to admit that, maybe, this whole endeavor was outside of his skill set, or too much for his crammed TV schedule.

Now the whole sad thing is coming apart, and despite Deion’s pledge to appeal the TEA’s decision, it looks like Prime Prep will eventually close its doors. When it does close, you can expect Deion will be insisting that none of it was his fault.

Ken Lay tried this method, and no one believed him. Deion should expect the same result from the Enron Defense.

Devin’s health concerns

Devin Harris is 31 and should be an effective starting point guard for the Mavericks ... assuming he is not on the bench.

While the Mavs’ fans are rightly concerned about the prospective long-term health of center Tyson Chandler, the status of Harris should not be too far behind on the list of worries.

Like Chandler, Harris is good when he is playing. Harris has appeared in 70 games only once in the last seven seasons, which means the Mavs should expect Raymond Felton to start a few times. Or some as-yet-unsigned point guard, like Mo Williams.

If Harris is playing, the Mavs are OK at the PG. He’s not Jason Kidd, and he’s not Tony Parker, but Harris is solid.

“Devin’s overall command of the point guard position has come a long way since his rookie year,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told me. “The thing I love about him is he can run a team and take over and score. He is an aggressive guy and we need that.”

An award for JD

Just about zero has gone right for Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels this season, but his golf cart did take home top prize for the Best Decoration in the Lake Kiowa Golf Course competition on July 4.

That is similar to winning the World Series ... only different.

Benefit match

The Fort Worth Vaqueros minor league soccer team will play a Fort Worth Charity Shield Match at 7:30 p.m. Friday at LaGrave Field.

The game will benefit the Hispano Exito organization, which promotes Hispanic success. The event will provide about 2,000 backpacks and school supplies to children.


Tiger Woods will never catch Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major golf championships.

Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog at

Related content



Sports Videos