Michael Carson, the former Martin Luther King High School football coach who lost his job amid allegations of sexting a parent, plans to open a prep school that will help athletes get scholarships.
The school, Georgia Prep Sports Academy, will be a one-year post-high school graduate program designed to help athletes who didn’t meet the requirements for college get athletic scholarships. He plans to open the school in January 2013.
Carson said this is an opportunity for children to increase their grades and test scores.
“Some kids are not meeting the minimum standards of a 2.0 GPA, or scoring at least an 820 on the SAT or 17 on the ACT,” he said. “And some NCAA schools have higher standards than that.”
Carson said, the school will also have sports starting out with two football teams then phasing into basketball and maybe baseball, which will give the athletes more exposure to college coaches. He plans to coach the teams that will play Georgia-area junior varsity or freshmen college teams.
Carson’s partner in the school is former Columbia High School football coach Mario Allen.
Carson said he came up with the idea of the school because he wanted to find a way to continue to have an impact in students’ lives. In his two seasons at MLK, the Lions were 20-5 and 42 players earned athletic scholarships to college. Carson had 16 of his players sign scholarships in two seasons at Avondale High School, which had not had a winning season in more than 20 years before he arrived in 2008.
Carson said he is trying to put the past behind him and move forward. In August, the sexting allegations surfaced after a parent of two football players at the school confronted Carson during a football game Aug. 18.
The parent, identified as Davida Bishop, allegedly showed other people at the football game the photographs, which were allegedly sent by the coach via text messages, because she was upset about the amount of playing time her son was getting on the field, according to a DeKalb County Schools System spokesman.
Carson was suspended and then resigned.
“I know that there were a lot of people that were hurt from this situation and all I can do is really just apologize to them for my actions and really just hope and pray that they find it in their hearts to forgive me for that,” Carson said.
Carson said this school will be the only school of this type in the Southeast once it opens. Junior colleges sometimes help athletes meet the academic requirements, but few in the Southeast have football teams.
“There are a few schools like this up North and there are only two junior colleges in the Southeast that have sports,” he said. “So we’re hoping to feel that void.”
Carson said he is attracting players who have GPA’s no lower than 1.8. Tuition will be $12,595, which is lower than other programs that cost a minimum of $30,000.
Carson is currently trying to find a location for the school, but said he is looking at Point University in East Point and Morris Brown College in Atlanta.
“We’re hoping to partner with them and use their classroom space,” he said.