McKinzey talks about Ridgeway High School scandal - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

McKinzey talks about Ridgeway High School scandal

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After this mess, he's no longer in love with the woman, who he identifies as Nicole Cortez.  He says she's working on an annulment.

When a team plays an ineligible athlete in the State Athletic Association Tournaments, the team is removed from the tournament.  Now the events which spiraled like a Lifetime movie, have left its mark on this community.

18 year old McKinzey Sewell says his desperation to earn a high school diploma and play high school basketball cost his team a shot at the state championship.  Memphis City Schools accused the 6'6" player of forging his transcript, after he obtained a GED in Louisiana.  McKinzey's aunt said, "he was manipulated by a person much older than him."

McKinzey says he fell in love with 34 year old parent Nicole Cortez.  He says they met while he was playing summer league basketball with her son.  Then he says she bribed him.  "She told me she didn't want me to go to Ridgeway cause of the girls there, and the only way she would let me back there if I signed the wedding papers I really wanted to be there felt like I had a chance at doing something I loved to do, so I did it," says McKinzey.

She made good on her promise, then he did too.  He says their 30-minute courthouse marriage happened in Arkansas a few months ago.  "Right now, I don't know what I was thinking she provided for me a whole bunch didn't want to be out of the situation  I was in, just did it."

McKinzey's aunt McKini Spain says they were duped by Cortez, who claimed her connections, not fraud, could help him play Ridgeway basketball. But McKinzey still takes responsibility for hurting his team.

McKinzey said, "I apologize to my teammates this was our year to win state and I'm sorry I messed that up for them."

Since the players lost their chance at state, the community has lashed out.

Parent Dennis Price Sr. says, "somebody in the school system should've caught this."

Jecorey Anderson, an 11th grader says, "really cheating our basketball team we was going to be the champs."

Parent James Haney says, "why have the kids that worked so hard done everything supposed to why are they paying the cost, for what is going on, outside of basketball, something wrong."

McKinzey denies the most disturbing allegation of recently killing his coach, in an attempted cover-up of the basketball scandal.  "I mourned the loss just like everybody else did, they just trying to pin his murder on me," said McKinzey.

A Memphis City School says they discovered the fake transcript after a student claimed to be threatened via text last week.  McKinzey says the threats were made by his wife, against a 19 year old Ridgeway student who he was having an affair with.   McKinzey says his decisions in the past year, taught him precious lessons off Ridgeway's court.  "You can't want for someone to take care of you, if somebody promises you a  good life, comes with consequences."

McKinzey's aunt says his next plan is to attend college.  MCS says no employee of the district was involved in the fake transcript, but McKinley's aunt says Cortez worked in graphic design with MCS, and took pictures which were posted on the school's website.

Timeline of McKinzey's history:

  • McKinzey received GED through Jobcore  in Louisiana at age 16.
  • Dec 2011- moved to Memphis
  • May 2012- turned 18 years old
  • August 2012-enrolled at Ridgeway High School

McKinzey says he's in the process of moving out of Cortez's home but he's having trouble reaching her.  We stopped by a home listed under Nicole Cortez but she was not there.  

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