Allen Academy Moving Forward After Parting Ways With TAPPS

*Story Update*

The head of a private school organization is speaking out after a falling out with Allen Academy earlier this month.

News 3 spoke with the head of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Tuesday and tells us why the organization reprimanded Allen Academy as well as Athletic Director and Dean of Students, Dave Bliss.

New details are out about Allen Academy's recent decision to withdraw from TAPPS after becoming a founding member of the organization in 1978.

TAPPS began taking a closer look at Allen's admission process when two high school seniors from Houston enrolled at Allen Academy and signed up to play basketball.

"Suddenly they are going to change from their senior year at the school they've been attending to go to Allen Academy. Only way they could do that was when Allen Academy was approved to be a boarding school which under the rules allowed boarding school students to be immediately eligible," said Edd Burleson, the Executive Director of TAPPS.

Burleson said his organization found the two students ineligible to play after questions over discounted tuition.

Allen Academy would later withdraw its membership.
"Three of those were senior basketball players and those three were receiving 85 percent tuition discount so instead of paying the full amount of $10,000 they were paying only 15 percent of that," Burleson said.

"We use the same process we use with all of our students at Allen Academy. We tried to present them that data, they didn't want to receive that data," said John P. Rouse, Head of School at Allen Academy.

On Monday Rouse said the school followed all eligibility requirements. He also dismissed sanctions against Dave Bliss who serves as the school's athletic director, dean of students, and basketball coach. TAPPS suspended him from coaching duties within the organization for one year as well as administrative duties within TAPPS for a year.

"It's completely unfounded which is obviously another reason why we chose not to stay with the organization," Rouse said.

Burleson said that TAPPS wasn't singling out Allen Academy or Bliss with the sanctions and said the reprimands came not from one person but from a 9 member board.

"That had to do with some statements that Dave Bliss had made verbally and in writing and that was done during closed executive session with simply Mr. Bliss and the board in the room, so I'll simply have to say there were violations of the TAPPS rules," Burleson said.

The departure from TAPPS won't have any impact on Bliss' role at the school.

"Dave Bliss is in my opinion a very good man, and I think he'll be a good person working on staff at Allen Academy," Rouse said.

Meanwhile, Allen Academy's Head of School John Rouse met with the Texas Christian Athletic League or TCAL Tuesday as part of a process to join its organization.

Allen Academy is the oldest preparatory school in Texas and has an enrollment of more than 200 students.

*Previous Story*
New details are coming in about Allen Academy's recent departure from a private school organization.

After one of the staff members was reprimanded by the organization, News 3 has learned it won't affect his role at the school.

Allen Academy reached the tipping point with the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools after the organization laid out new rules that boarding school students would lose eligibility for one year.

TAPPS issued a public reprimand against Dave Bliss and suspended him from coaching activities in TAPPS for one year as well as from TAPPS administrative duties for a year.

Since Allen Academy is no longer a part of TAPPS those sanctions won't hold any standing.

"We have a boarding school that has international students and domestic students in it and we had had issues in the past with TAPPS where they would not allow some of our international students to be eligible and we wanted to be sure that we didn't have that issue again," said John P. Rouse, Head of School for Allen Academy.

Rouse said the decision to depart from TAPPS was taken with full consideration.

Earlier this month the TAPPS executive board ruled that two boarding school students at TAPPS wouldn't be eligible to participate in sports for one year with concerns that the two students had been given special financial assistance to attend the school.

Rouse said information they provided proves differently.

"We challenged, we provided evidence that we met all the eligibility requirements. They seemed to implicate that we had changed our system for how we award tuition reduction amounts to favor of these students over other students which was not correct. I mean we use the same process we use with all of our students at Allen Academy. We tried to present them that data, but they didn't want to receive that data," Rouse said.

Dave Bliss is still serving as the school's athletic director, dean of students, and basketball coach.

Before that he was Baylor's head men's basketball coach until 2003 when he left there amid scandal.

Rouse adds that TAPPS' public reprimand and sanctions against Dave Bliss and the school have no merit.

"It's completely unfounded which is obviously another reason why we chose not to stay with the organization. We provided them evidence, we feel like, full evidence, that would show that their findings were unfounded, unsupported and we believe that and they have no impact on us or our school," Rouse said.

In a letter released to parents Monday, Rouse said that Coach Bliss did improperly sign a prior athletic participation form for one student who was being considered for enrollment at Allen, but was never enrolled.

Rouse wrote, "To expedite the paperwork, Mr. Bliss signed the form with Mr. Rouse's name. Although they had been discussing the student's admission process over the phone, the paper was signed without Mr. Rouse's permission and this matter has been addressed internally with Mr. Bliss."

Despite Bliss' checkered past, Rouse still supports his staff member.

"Dave Bliss is in my opinion a very good man. I think he would be a good person working on staff at Allen Academy. He serves at the dean of students, the Athletic Director, and coach and seems to interact well with students, parents. He seems to have a good heart and we're glad to have him on staff," Rouse said.

In the meantime, Allen Academy has applied to become a member of the Texas Christian Athletic League or TCAL which News 3 was told is a smaller organization based in San Antonio.

In fact John Rouse is having a meeting with the organization Tuesday and is confident his students will have have new group of schools and students to compete with academically and athletically.

Allen Academy is the oldest preparatory school in Texas with an enrollment of more than 200 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Dave Bliss has been with the school since May.


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