Former players blow the whistle on the Roanoke football program

ROANOKE, Va. – Jawaan Griffin and Ramon Morrow-Finley got here to Roanoke to pursue their dream of taking part in football in faculty. But that dream rapidly turned a nightmare as their pupil housing, which as an alternative of a lodge as acknowledged of their recruitment letter, ended up being their coach’s residence. A spot they are saying was stuffed with feces, roaches and filth.

“I did not see something mistaken with it at first, as a result of we simply went to the lounge. But then once I laid my head down, that is once I noticed my first roach,” mentioned Morrow-Finley, after he left the program.

Photos of the inside Pope Mitchell’s residence shared with 10 News by players (WSLS)

“I needed to present it an opportunity, however on the inside, it was horrible,” added his highschool teammate Griffin, who additionally left the group.

That was simply the starting of exposing a program that the players say was not what it appeared

“They should not do all of it. They must shut that down. That’s not what was being marketed. It ain’t what he is saying it’s,” mentioned Griffin. The players say Pope Mitchell, the athletic director and head football coach of South Forest Community Christian, misrepresented his program as a Junior College. Something Mitchell mentioned he by no means did.

Ad

“We are a membership program that gives athletics. We provide males’s and ladies’s basketball, we provide football. To play for these membership applications it’s a must to be enrolled in Community Christian College. But we ourselves aren’t an institute for increased studying, no ma’am,” Mitchell mentioned.

[Dream turned nightmare: Local football program plagued with broken promises]

Their convention although, the National Post Grad Athletic Association, has them listed on their web site as “SF Community Christian College.” Mitchell’s recruitment letter referred to it as a “JUCO,” or Junior College.

“When the coach first did a zoom name, he was saying that that is a web based college, however you will be taking part in football. So you will play football for like six months, then you definitely’ll go residence, return to your residence and do on-line courses,” defined Griffin’s father Walter Brown Jr. He began digging into the program after his son’s expertise at Mitchell’s home.

Ad

In his recruitment letter, Mitchell claimed he had a partnership with Community Christian College, a web based college in California.

10 News spoke with CCC’s Athletic Director Tracy Davis, who mentioned he’s acquainted with Mitchell, however South Forest Community Christian is just not affiliated with CCC. Mitchell’s statements, nonetheless, counsel that CCC is concerned in the funding for his SFCC program.


Pope Mitchell: “Once they’ve taken courses by way of CCC, then these funds for that particular person will probably be launched to us athletically.”

Alyssa Rae: “So CCC offers you funds if the children enroll?”

Pope Mitchell: “Yes.”


But as we have reported, the Vice President of Compliance at CCC despatched me this assertion: “There is not any partnership, athletic or in any other case, with the entity, company, or enterprise positioned in Roanoke, Virginia.”

SFCC Bobcats Athletic Twitter initially had a hyperlink to CCC’s web site. The day after our dialog with Davis, that hyperlink was taken down. But once I requested Mitchell when the players will get their $500 deposits again, Mitchell blamed the faculty.

Ad


Alyssa Rae: “Why would it’s a must to wait till the finish of the semester to get them their a reimbursement?”

Pope Mitchell: “Because that is when our funds are launched. Our price range is set by semesters.


Ei’zayah Frost, who’s on the group and nonetheless lives in Mitchell’s residence, mentioned the coach additionally informed him that Community Christian College would return his deposit after the semester. CCC didn’t help these claims. In a press release to 10 News the faculty says that Pope Mitchell, “doesn’t and has not ever acquired cash from CCC.”


Ei’zayah Frost: “He informed me the similar factor he informed y’all. We cannot get it again till September. And that is what the college informed us too.”

Alyssa Rae: “What college?”

Ei’zayah Frost: “CCC.”

Alyssa Rae: “They do not have your cash.”


The households mentioned he by no means mentioned Mitchell was refunding them, actually, they can not even get in contact with him.

Ad

“I’ve not spoken to him. He really blocked everybody so we can not get involved with him,” mentioned Griffin’s mom, Alegria Brown.

“I consider he was recruiting out-of-town children to get that $500, or extra, as the months go on,” added Brown Jr.

According to court docket paperwork obtained by 10 News, Mitchell was convicted of felony illegal wounding in 2018 and was incarcerated. In a court docket submitting, he shared together with his probation officer that he would pay for his court docket prices and fines in full on Jan. 16, 2021, when he acquired $3,000 for his place of Athletic Director and Head Football Coach of SF Community Christian ‘college’.

According to court docket paperwork obtained by 10 News, Mitchell was convicted of felony illegal wounding in 2018 and was incarcerated. (WSLS)

Alyssa Rae: “Where did you intend to get that $3,000?”

Pope Mitchell: “From the cash I’d have been paid from my memorandum of understanding for the membership program.”


We have but to seek out any proof of an official memorandum. The solely cash we have confirmed he acquired was by way of direct PayPal funds to Mitchell from the out-of-state players and their households who put their belief in him.

Ad

“My pops retains telling me, every part is a lesson, every part that occurs you bought to take a look at it and study from it, so from right here on out, I do not belief something,” Griffin mentioned.

As they left Roanoke, that they had a warning for different faculty football hopefuls: watch out who you place your belief in.

Griffin and Morrow-Finley moved again to Kansas City and are pursuing different football alternatives. As for the housing deposit, as of now, it has but to be returned.



Alyssa Rae and Patrick McKee contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment