EWC football players feel betrayed by coach accused of lying about cost of housing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some of more than a dozen football players who told the I-TEAM last month they were lied to when recruited to Edward Waters College have had to drop out after they were evicted from their apartments.

The athletes told News4Jax that their football coach guaranteed them a discount off the average $614-630 monthly rent off-campus housing, but they were evicted after paying the $100-250 per month the coach told them they would owe.

Days before school starts, 19 EWC students have now been evicted from The District on Kernan. Thirteen of them are football players. Since most of them are out-of-state students, they don’t have the option of staying with family. At least two told the I-TEAM they’ve had to drop out of college.

The apartment complex they told News4Jax on Monday that the $275 a month was only a summer move-in special for the first two months – available to any student – and not a rate quoted for every month of the lease.

Former player Carlos Rogers has returned to Birmingham because he can’t afford to stay at EWC without the housing rates he was promised. He said he feels betrayed by his former football coach, Antoinne Manning.

Manning has told university officials no promise of rent discounts was ever made. The student-athletes say they have proof in the form of a letter they produced in defense of their position in the dispute.

The letter reads, “We are officially contesting the eviction summons that we received. Our coaches said living at The District would be better and that our financial aid and scholarships would cover everything. With the exception of the minimal amount we have paid each month."

Students say the fact that 13 football players received eviction notices is more than just a coincidence and they want the college to investigate their claims further.

”I feel like he’s trying not to get himself into trouble because if everyone on the team heard the same thing, why is he saying something different?" Rogers said Monday.

Since our initial story aired two weeks ago, I’ve received emails from two other parents who also allege Manning made their children promises of a lower rent rate off-campus. When we originally asked EWC officials about the allegations, they said Manning is still denying he made the promise.

On Friday afternoon, EWC’s intercollegiate athletics director, Paul Bryant, released this statement:

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