City police on Sunday charged one of Asheville High’s top returning football players with possession of a stolen vehicle.
Jermaine Martin Battle, 18, of Wyatt Street, was scheduled to appear in court Monday morning on the felony charge. He had possession of a stolen green and white Kawasaki dirt bike on Sunday, according to an arrest warrant.
He did not have any previous criminal history and was released into his father’s custody Sunday evening. Battle’s immediate status with the football team is unclear.
A conviction on the charge, however, would end his athletic career. A student-athlete convicted of a felony is prohibited from participating in NCHSAA sports, according to eligibility rules set by the state’s governing body for high school athletics.
“Such ineligibility shall be immediate and shall prohibit participation in the NCHSAA sports program from the date of conviction or adjudication of delinquency through the end of the student’s high school career,” the NCHSAA’s felony policy states.
A conviction includes a guilty plea or a plea of no contest, according to the policy.
Neither Asheville High coach Danny Wilkins nor athletic director Rex Wells could be reached for comment.
The Cougars are coming off a disappointing 6-5 season in 2012, and Battle was among a trio of running backs expected to contribute this fall. He rushed for 632 yards and nine touchdowns last season and was named an honorable mention selection to the Citizen-Times All-WNC team.
Battle, a senior, was likely going to start, Wilkins said recently.
The Cougars start their season Aug. 23 at Hendersonville.