The Virginia University of Lynchburg‘s football program has come under recent scrutiny on social media amid allegations of misconduct and impropriety.
The HBCU football team comes under fire amid allegations of financial impropriety, broken promises and verbal abuse by former recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Doe Edwards, who detailed his grievances with the organization late last year.
Edwards, a Maryland-based football recruiting specialist, who stepped down from the football program in November 2023, took to social media a month later to warn people about what he claimed were “nefarious operations” within the VUL program, mostly by Dragons head coach and athletic director Tim Newman.
Edwards created the hashtag #SurvivingVUL on X to bring awareness to the underlying mistreatment throughout the university’s football program.
In a recent post via the football program’s Twitter account, they addressed claims made by players and a former assistant coach.
“It has been brought to the University’s attention that a former assistant football coach has begun making slanderous and untrue statements about the University and its football team,” the statement begins.
“We regret that our former coach left the University’s coaching staff on bad terms, but we also cannot stand idly by while the name of our institution is impugned without cause.”
Edwards also alleges verbal abuse from Newman, including shouting expletives at players during practices and in games. The travel and living conditions were also a point of emphasis. “He would not see these kids for hours because we’re taking bus rides,” he said.
“We’re talking 9, 10, 13-hour trips. We’d leave school at 6 a.m. and not eat until 5 p.m. that night. There was a game where he took us to Cici’s Pizza three hours before game time and Little Caesar’s after the game.”
Edwards also claims Newman asked him to continue working without a contract.
“I’m thinking I’m gaining something from this experience. I came back home with nothing,” Edwards said. “He said to keep recruiting, and he would try to get me money in the spring. All we got was the bare minimum, I could’ve made more at McDonald’s.”
VUL, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, is a private, faith-based HBCU in Lynchburg, Virginia. The University has unfortunately become a known commodity in Black College football for negative reasons, reportedly offering themselves up to NCAA Division I and Division II programs searching for a win.
Edwards claimed that players and other coaches would often have to assist injured players off the field because there was no one else available to help. Opponents allegedly would often pay their trainers extra to render aid to VUL’s players. Edwards also mentioned that the football program charged players a camp fee prior to reporting for training camp.
“We had no trainers; Kids were playing through injuries all season,” he said. “In college football, you must have trainers and EMS for practices and games. Imagine if a kid died during practice. [Newman] put these titles on people that don’t have certifications.”
The football program also addressed these allegations in their recent statement, citing that their team has a physician and athletic trainers for every game per NCCAA rules and accounts for the destination of payouts for games against Division I opponents.
“All guarantee payments made by hosting schools for the University’s away games have been paid directly to the University and used for the payment of the football team’s expenses,” the statement says. “Football is an expensive sport for any university to maintain, and guarantee payments are common in college football to cover the costs of transporting, lodging, and feeding the athletes, coaches and staff.”
The statement mentions VUL received $206,000 for games against FCS opponents Presbyterian, Merrimack, Robert Morris, Delaware State, South Carolina State, and Kennesaw State.
“VUL is proud of its football team and its dedicated student-athletes. VUL has always, and will continue to strive for excellence on behalf of its students and student-athletes,” the statement concludes.
“Notwithstanding what some may choose to do or say using the anonymity of web-based platforms, VUL will continue in its dedication to serving those who choose to pursue higher education at our great and historic University.”