In a demand letter written today to eight Virginia school districts, Liberty Counsel requested the districts and their athletic departments to immediately cease an illegal boycott against Liberty Christian Academy’s (LCA) athletic programs, which is negatively impacting student athletes, athletic department budgets and a local children’s charity. If the illegal boycott does not immediately cease, Liberty Counsel will file suit.
Founded by Dr. Jerry Falwell and Thomas Road Baptist Church, LCA for several decades has engaged in athletic competition, off-season practice competition and training camp opportunities with student athletic teams of high schools within Bedford, Nelson, Prince Edward, Campbell, Appomattox, Pittsylvania and Amherst counties and the City of Lynchburg. LCA has scheduled in-season games, meets and matches with teams from these school districts in the sports of football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, soccer, track and field, cross country, golf, and tennis. LCA has participated in off-season open leagues with teams from these school districts in practice competition. LCA’s basketball players have also attended the Altavista Team Camp for a number of years. LCA’s football team won the state championship for the past two years, its basketball team was runner-up state champion this year, and LCA won the state championship in girls’ volleyball this year.
As LCA prepared for the 2006-2007 academic year’s sports seasons, the school was hit with an illegal boycott. LCA’s athletic director has been repeatedly informed by the athletic department heads of these eight districts that LCA players are no longer welcome and may not participate in the Altavista Team Camp, may not participate in any “open” leagues for any sport, and that LCA has been dropped from the schedule of any high schools in these districts in all sports. We have information that this illegal boycott began primarily with one large district that influenced and conspired with other districts to jointly boycott LCA.
Additionally, for about three years, Beacon Credit Union has hosted the Beacon Basketball Classic, a December tip-off basketball tournament for area high school basketball teams. Proceeds from the tournament have supported the Children’s Miracle Network. Last year, the Classic raised $9,300 for the Children’s Miracle Network charity. Past participants, Jefferson Forest, Brookville, Heritage and E.C. Glass High Schools, have uniformly declined to participate next year because of the illegal boycott. Not only do these actions hurt the students and limit the scholarship opportunities, they also deny the schools’ fan base a number of big games and traditional match-ups that local competition draws. These actions violate federal and state law.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said: “It is sad when athletic directors illegally conspire to injure a Christian academy, its students and other charitable programs designed to help needy children. These school districts must immediately cease their unlawful actions and work together for the good of the community. Personal bias or fear of competition should not be used to hurt children. Liberty Christian Academy intends to right these wrongs, preferably with an amicable resolution, but if necessary, by legal recourse.”