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Man Poses As 17-Year-Old Student On High School Basketball For 9 Months: Report

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A 25-year-old man was arrested for pretending to be a student while playing for a high school basketball team. An empty court is pictured at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By Andrew N., International Business Times - Business

A 25-year-old Dallas man was arrested Friday for pretending to be a high school student to compete on the boys’ basketball team, according to reports.

Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley told officials at Skyline High School that he was homeless, displaced by Hurricane Harvey before he enrolled for classes.

He did so in August under the name Rashun Richardson and claiming to be 17 years old, according to Dallas Independent School District police.

"We have some liberal policies for homeless students, but he knew that. And he took advantage of this opportunity to enroll in Hillcrest," Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said.

"Unfortunately this was a perfect storm. When we had the issue of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston-area, he took advantage of that and portrayed himself as a victim of that event and enrolled himself in one of our schools."

Gilstrap-Portley played basketball at North Mesquite High School before he graduated in 2011. He attended Dallas Christian College between 2013 and 2014, where he played guard on the school's Division II basketball team and eventually went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft.

Gilstrap-Portley transferred to Hillcrest High School in October, where he played for the Panthers and allegedly dated a 14-year-old old girl, reported KXAS, an NBC affiliate in Fort Worth, Texas.

He was arrested and charged with felony tampering with government documents for filing false enrollment records. Police booked him into the Dallas County Jail and has since been released on bond, according to court records. An investigation into his alleged relationship with the teenaged girl is ongoing.

Police apprehended Gilstrap-Portley after one of his former coaches from North Mesquite High School saw him playing at a tournament on April 20, district officials said. The Mesquite coach alerted the Hillcrest basketball team that Gilstrap-Portley was a former player.

After news of the incident broke, the school administrator sent a letter to parents apologizing, adding that the district would prevent it from happening again, the Dallas Morning-News reported.

"We need to make sure we follow better protocols to try and prevent this from happening, but unfortunately this was almost like a perfect storm," Hinojosa told the paper. "To the parents, I apologize. You send your kid to be safe at school and to participate in extracurricular activities and this should not happen."

There have been previous reports of adults pretending to be students. A 23-year-old Ukrainian man was arrested in 2016 for using a false name and pretending to be a student at a high school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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