As may of you know, we at RADIOTROY are attempting to get to the bottom of the email accusing several people of being involved in a basketball scandal at Richmond High School.
One of the persons named in the scandal is Tony Cole of the Indiana Elite Basketball Academy. Here is what the email had to say about Mr. Cole:
To Whom it may concern,
This letter is to the authorities that oversee the Richmond Boys Basketball Program and the IHSAA officials whose job is to govern the programs who are IHSAA members. Richmond High School Basketball has knowingly and fraudulently enrolled transfer students for the sole purpose to compete in the boys basketball program.
Several students have transferred into Richmond High School this school year for the purpose to be part of the boys basketball team, through an outside source and recruiter working hand in hand with Richmond High School Head Coach Shabaz Khaliq.
The individual Mr Anthony Cole is known to Richmond Basketball as a long time recruiter and off the books booster for the program offering housing and basketball training to current Richmond transfer players and Richmond players past.
Mr Anthony Cole who is the current owner and operator of Indiana Elite Preparatory Academy and Elite Rising Stars AAU has assisted in the recruiting and placement of several student athletes currently and in the past as well.
Former Richmond student athletes were actual transfers that were enrolled at a Christian School where Mr. Cole was athletic director.
RADIOTROY asked Mr. Cole for a statement regarding the allegation. We received his response Monday morning:
I want to begin by first saying thank you to all those who have gone out of the way to send support and kind regards during these past few days. I want to thank RadioTroy and his platform for allowing me to make a statement regarding the astounding article written last week stemming from a maligning email referencing the Richmond High School Basketball Program. I would like to make it very clear that I have no intention to use this as an opportunity to change the opinions or thoughts of anyone regarding the repeated mention of my name in the article published on 11-21-19. I firmly believe those with whom I have worked and have known me for years, also know my heart and character. I firmly believe this onslaught was a deliberate attempt to assassinate my character along with those mentioned. However, and most importantly, that email does not diminish the assistance provided to countless kids over the years. The opinions of those student-athletes are what matters the most to me. This article presents me with an opportunity to grow in the face of adversity. After carefully reviewing the information written and the details of the email that were sent out to what appears to be officials in the IHSAA and Richmond Community Schools Staff, I can say that, without a doubt, the supposed author of the article is not Greg Paxson. He and I have a relationship spanning more than a decade helping countless kids from all over the world achieve college scholarships. I have complete confidence that Greg Paxson absolutely is not the author. Greg has spent over 18 years helping student-athletes and young people reach their goals. In the last five years, I can also say with certainty that Greg has not coached in the Richmond community or been involved other than assisting with academic advising for several students in my program, which still does not have any affiliation with IHSAA or Richmond Schools. I know the character of the man; I know that this was an attempt to use a long-time friend and colleague’s name to make a story full of lies and accusations seem credible. I am aware that Greg Paxson has publicly denied that he had any involvement of any kind with this article or email. I have full confidence, as one of the individuals whose character was assassinated, that Greg Paxson had absolutely nothing to do with this shameful accusation. Despite the false foundation and ghost authorship of the slanderous email, I want to address the other allegations. It is entirely false that I ever placed kids at Richmond High School for the sole intention of playing basketball. In absolutely no way have I served as a booster officially or unofficially to any program. The allegation that Richmond Coach Shabaz Khaliq and I were colluding to illegally recruit is false. I have not, in any way, violated any rules of the Richmond Community Schools enrollment policies nor have I ever colluded with any Richmond Community Schools staff or faculty as the email led readers to believe. The article indicated that my wife, Ashley Combs, had enrolled student athletes in her name under my direction to avoid detection from school or IHSAA officials, which is completely false and impossible considering we live in such a small community it would be near impossible to avoid so called detection with school officials, the High School process is much more then sign up and show up. The process includes guidance counselors who review each child’s transcripts and academic status to determine classes he or she will need, therefore making this claim the most ridiculous claim of them all because it questions the integrity of our school officials and educators and this is extremely unfair and simply not true.
My heart is to see KIDS be successful and if sports opens that door, I want to help provide that stepping stone. I have dedicated my life for the better part of the last 20 years to helping kids. I have spent countless hours along with my staff helping the kids of Richmond and Wayne County through skills training and AAU. My mission has been the same for almost 20 years and I title it very simply as Basketball With a Purpose! I am not from Richmond but have chosen to live here and have chosen to try each day to be a positive influence in the lives of young people. I do not know the motivation of the writer nor can I, with certainty, say who the writer is. However, I wholeheartedly believe that it was meant to destroy and divide. It was designed to create contention in an area where, to my knowledge, no wrong was done. I can only say that I would hope that we all embrace change and understand that we are hurting children with this type of division. We must remember that when we assume and prejudge that we are doing our community a major disservice. I would hope that from this drama we can find a way to allow this to strengthen our community. The work of RadioTroy and others has been swift to find the truth and for that I am grateful. Measures were taken to assure that the accused and named had the opportunity to come forward. I believe, to the best of my knowledge, that most parties have come forward and spoken with RadioTroy to deny their participation in the alleged conduct. Inasmuch as the supposed author and whistleblower is fake, the validity of the content should also be in question. I would hope all could agree this is actually not a story at all and, rather, a waste of time and resources. I would encourage us all to embrace our students and move on to more positive things. I firmly believe we will be better served by building the youth of this community.
Sincerly Tony Cole
RADIOTROY has contacted others named in the e-mail such as Camena Johnson and her two sons but our calls haven’t been returned. We also haven’t received any further response from RHS at this time.