The American Christian Academy & Prep School, a small private school that was housed in a church in Aston, Pa., and was famously noted for high school basketball star Tyreke Evans, will close its high school and sports programs, several sources confirmed Monday afternoon.

The decision was revealed Sunday at a church service by the new administration, headed by Pastor Ed Trinkle, who was not available for comment yesterday.

According to several sources, Trinkle has decided to downsize the school to preschool and grade school for financial reasons. But he has left open the option of reopening the high school again within the next few years.

The high school has been in existence since the early 1990s.

Over the last 3 years, the tiny school received a wealth of national attention through its basketball program, with the Memphis-bound Evans at the hub.

The Eagles played a national schedule, and were featured on ESPN once this past season against traditional national prep powerhouse St. Patrick's. Also, major sneaker companies were vying to be the apparel provider for the Eagles.

But the school also received a lot of criticism in high school basketball circles as nothing but a diploma mill and a vehicle for the talented Evans.

"We know the criticism that the school received, but the school served our purposes, to get Tyreke into school, which it did," said Reggie Evans, one of Tyreke's three older brothers. "The school has gotten a lot of kids into college, so I can't see why it received that kind of criticism."

Jim Peper, American Christian's former athletic director who resigned to pursue his own ministry prior to the announcement, had no comment about the changes at the school.

In a story that appeared 2 years ago in the Delaware County Times, former American Christian coach Ray Carroll came out publicly and condemned the academic standards of the school.

The administration at the time declined to comment on the allegations.

The school changed its name a year ago from American Christian Academy to American Christian Academy & Prep School to allow postgraduates to play. The school said it was preschool through 12th grade and had 289 students.

The school produced Dwayne Jones, who played for Saint Joseph's and who currently is with the Cleveland Cavaliers. For a short time, the school also had two current Chester High stars: Nasir Robinson, bound for Pittsburgh; and Karon Burton. They were integral parts of the Clippers' PIAA Class AAAA state title team this season.

"I went there my freshman year and when I was there, I was learning a lot; we took tests every day," said Burton, who admitted he transferred to Chester because he wanted more playing time. "It wasn't like you were handed grades and that was it. I don't know why the school was knocked. It wasn't a joke school when I was there. You have to be there to know. I was there, I know."

Coach Tony Bergeron said he is considering his career options. *

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