10/21/04 — OPINION -- A basketball team without a school?

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OPINION -- A basketball team without a school?

By David Williams
Published in Sports on October 21, 2004 1:57 PM

Charis Prep, the private school that was operating out of Abundant Life Church on Sheridan Forest Road, has closed its doors -- at least, temporarily -- almost as fast as it opened them.

But that doesn't mean the school has not become unique in high school athletics.

After all, what other basketball team can operate without a school?

The school, operated by Abundant Life Church's minister, Carlos Peralta, has been closed after it failed a building inspection by the city. It was open no more than a week. But in that week, Peralta managed to field a basketball team, put it in uniforms and attract enough attention for its players to bring college recruits and scouts to Goldsboro from all over the region.

Not bad for a school that does not even have a gymnasium.

Does anyone see something out of whack, or is it just me?

How can a school that is not open have a basketball team --onbe that is practicing a month before anyone else's teams are even allowed to conduct practice? Who are these players that have the talent to bring high-profile coaches into town to watch them work out? What teams are they scheduled to play?

Most important -- who issued the academic accreditation for Charis Prep? What educational authority certified the school in time for it to open?

And where are Charis Prep's basketball players attending school right now?

If athletes practicing for Charis Prep believe they can get a quick trip into college ball, they need to at least understand the requirements to get there.

The first thing needed is a high school education -- from an accredited school -- with adequate grades and SAT scores to indicate they can handle collegiate classes.

If any of the Charis Prep players have not finished high school, they are in danger of ruining any chance at NCAA eligibility -- and of even graduating from high school -- if they are not in school right now. The public schools have been in session for ten weeks, and it would be nearly impossible for anyone to get credit for this semester with late enrollment.

Potential college athletes have to be entered in the NCAA Clearinghouse, which checks their eligibility and is what collegiate coaches use to determine eligibility for its prospective recruits.

If you do not have enough days in high school or do not have the grades necessary to enroll, you will not be eligible to play for an NCAA member school.

Don't take my word for it. Contact the NCAA on its Web site (www.ncaa.org). All the requirements are there.

Charis Prep has been trying to get onto the schedules of area high schools. Several schools have been contacted by Charis Prep officials for games, the latest being James Kenan High School.

While the N.C. High School Athletic Association said member schools can play nearly anyone they choose, the schools we have talked to all either declined to play Charis Prep or canceled the agreement as soon as its status as a school was uncovered.

The most upsetting thing about Charis Prep and its basketball team is the cloud of secrecy it operates under. Players and parents will not talk to outsiders. Peralta has refused to talk to the media since the school has closed. No playing schedule has been issued, and no roster of players has been made available to the media, as there is for every other public and private school.

Nearly every school in the state wants publicity for its athletic teams. So far, Charis Prep has shied away from it.


Obviously, the cart is way ahead of the horse. Athletic teams are supposed to be part of the school -- unless, of course, you get tired of being restricted by the governing bodies and decide to open your own school just to have a team.