Russell leaves U.S. prep school

Founders of Grass Roots Canada Basketball, Wayne Dawkins (left) and Ro Russell, at Falstaff...

Founders of Grass Roots Canada Basketball, Wayne Dawkins (left) and Ro Russell, at Falstaff Community Centre, March 3, 2001. QMI Agency/Ernest Doroszuk

Brian Daly, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

Youth basketball coach Ro Russell has parted ways with a U.S. prep school days after he was criticized in a CBC documentary.

Russell tells QMI Agency that he has temporarily left Christian Faith Center Academy (CFCA) just before the playoffs to focus on his wife and son in Toronto.

He says he is also dealing with the fallout from an investigation by The Fifth Estate that aired last Friday.

The state broadcaster contends that Russell exploited Canadian teenagers by misleading their parents into paying him directly when they thought their kids were attending CFCA in Creedmoor, N.C.

Russell insists the parents were aware that he was running a temporary prep school out of CFCA's gym because student visas had been delayed.

The Christian school later hired Russell and his players enrolled in classes.

He said CFCA did not fire him this week and that he plans to stay involved behind the scenes.

"I came up here to spend time with my family," Russell said from Toronto. "I'm still going to go down and visit and still help the guys with their scholarship opportunities."

Russell's Grassroots Canada program has sent over 100 players to NCAA and CIS basketball programs. His supporters include several former players, including 2011 NBA draft picks Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph.

His most vocal critics include former Team Canada head coach Leo Rautins, who has suggested Russell profits personally from his association with top players, an assertion Russell denies.


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