More information is becoming available about the dozens of Grand Rapids Community College football players were kicked out of their northeast Grand Rapids homes because their rent wasn't paid.
The landlord of the properties said football coaches promised the rent would be paid, and it wasn't. Several players also told Target 8 that they were promised housing, but a school spokesperson said that GRCC doesn't pay for student housing.
GRCC is currently conducting an internal investigation of its football program.
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), the group that regulates community college sports teams, said that it has made initial contact with GRCC's athletic director, but wouldn't say more on the topic.
Further Target 8 research indicated the the situation is unique in a few more ways:
Only five community colleges in West Michigan -- Kalamazoo Valley, Muskegon, Kellogg, Glenn Oaks and Grand Rapids community colleges -- have athletic programs.
They are all classified as Division II junior college schools, which means that they cannot offer room and board to student athletes.
Target 8 contacted each of the other four schools in West Michigan Wednesday. When asked how they handle student athletes looking for housing, each school told Target 8 that it offers students lists or recommendations of apartment complexes the school or students athletes have dealt with in the past.
Each of the spokespeople said that the schools can't and don't help student athletes find housing because it's against NJCAA rules.
Any community college football team is rare. To find another one outside of West Michigan, you'd have to go beyond Southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. And there are only 69 community college football programs across the country.
Community colleges in the area without football programs said a big reason they don't have the sport is because of the cost.
Several reasons were cited, like a lack of funds to pay for insurance and the creation of new facilities for games. Cost of travel was also mentioned as a big cost, since many, if not all, of a football team's potential opponents would be out of state.
Additionally, because of Title IX, if community colleges created a men's football program, they'd likely have to start several more women's teams in the interest of equality. Target 8 was told a football program would likely have dozens of members -- possibly up to 100. Sports other community colleges have now, like soccer, have only about 20 members. Creating a new football program and several new women's teams, schools said, would simply be too expensive in this economy.
Title IX is a federal law that requires equal rights for men and women. The law applies to institutions that receive federal funding.
It means the percentage of a junior college's student body must be accurately reflected in its student athletes. So, if a school is 60% female, six out of every ten student athletes at that school would need to be female.
Target 8 also discovered several of the properties that were allegedly recommended to the football players do not comply with city codes for rental properties. This means there are violations of the city code -- some that have been going on for months, even before the housing was recommended to the players.
More information on those violations will be available later.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Investigators in Montcalm County are working to determine what led up to a deadly crash.