AP NEWS

Village Christian will continue football program this fall

April 5, 2019 GMT

Village Christian Academy, a private school in Fayetteville, will continue its high school football program this fall after school administration conducted a review of the program.

According to the school’s spokesman, Lee Boughman, the school committee voted unanimously to continue playing football at the school.

Last month, Village Christian was handed a series of punishments after an N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association investigation found football players were recruited to the school and provided impermissible benefits.

Village Christian also fired its head football coach, Emerson Martin, after two seasons leading the program.

Boughman said Friday afternoon that the process to hire a new football coach has not yet begun.

The families of two Village Christian football players spoke to HighSchoolOT.com in February and March. They claimed they were promised free tuition at Village Christian in exchange for transferring from Raleigh’s Athens Drive High School and playing football for the Knights.

HighSchoolOT.com identified at least 11 football players from Triangle area schools and one from a Triad area high school that transferred to Village Christian. They all made the daily trip to Fayetteville, some of them riding a church van driven by Martin.

HighSchoolOT.com made multiple attempts to contact Martin. Prior to the first report from HighSchoolOT.com on Mar. 1, Martin said by phone there were two sides to every story but that he would not comment further. Multiple attempts to reach him since have gone unanswered.

A recording provided to HighSchoolOT.com by the family of Isaiah Henderson, one of the Athens Drive players who transferred to Village Christian, shows Martin and his wife discussing tuition arrangements.

The NCISAA said Village Christian will forfeit its 2017 and 2018 football seasons, including a state championship win this past fall. In addition, Village Christian was placed on probation through the 2020-2021 school year and will be fined, though the amount of the fine was not disclosed.

“The NCISAA is satisfied with the actions taken by Village Christian Academy’s senior administration to resolve this matter and implement measures to prevent any such incidents in the future,” the NCISAA said in a statement on Mar. 11.