Monday afternoon, FMA made history again in a less pleasant manner.
First reported by Sammy Batten of the Fayetteville Observer, FMA was stripped of its 2011-12 boys basketball state title by the NCISAA for recruiting violations. On top of that, the school is banned from the state tournament for the next three years.
FMA head basketball coach and athletic director Derrick Bond said the NCISAA notified him that it was investigating recruitment violations in early September. What specific violations were unearthed by the NCISAA remains unknown to Bond.
“That’s the million dollar question,” Bond told The Robesonian Monday night. “They haven’t said anything. We asked them, our attorney asked them … they haven’t identified what was done. It’s borderline childish to me. If you’re going to accuse someone, at least nail down what you accuse me of.
“I stand behind we’ve done nothing wrong.”
Charles N. Carter, executive director of the NCISAA, said this is the first time the NCISAA has stripped a team of a state championship and denied access to the state tournament for three years.
Detail of what rules were broken have not been released.
“This is the most severe disciplinary action the NCISAA has handed down,” Carter said.
Public Schools of Robeson County officials are also looking into possible punishment involving FMA’s Shootout title at UNCP in December. The private school’s invitation to a previously public-only tournament drew criticism from some organizers and several local coaches claiming an unfair competitive advantage.
No decision to hand the 2011 title over to Fairmont, which lost the title game by 30 points, has been made as of Monday night.
Flora Macdonald touts Division I-caliber seniors including Anton Wilson and Darren Williams. Wilson, 6-foot-5 forward from Flint, Mich., joined the Cougars as a junior last season and averaged a team-best 19 points per game. Wilson, who signed with the University of Detroit Mercy, had offers from regional DI programs such as N.C. State and Virginia Tech.
Williams, a Myrtle Beach, S.C. native, is being recruited by Cincinnati, Rhode Island, Oklahoma State, Tulane and East Carolina among several others. Lumberton native Jared Scott, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, has offers from nearly 20 DI schools, such as Appalachian State, UNC-Charlotte, Marshall, Old Dominion and St. Louis.
The trio anchored the Cougars to their now-forfeited state championship last season. In February, Bond saw the state title as the first of many championships for the local hoops powerhouse.
“We look at the state championship as a new beginning,” Bond said. “Hopefully, we’re just getting started.”
With a state title gone and a closed door to the state tournament for three years, FMA will have to wait awhile to restart.