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UPDATE: The NCAA has ruled in favor of Turner and will offer him aid.
Here’s a sad one for you guys, and it should probably piss you off plenty as well.
Antoine Turner, a junior college football recruit for Boise State, hasn’t had the easiest life. He lost his mother to cancer at age 4, isn’t close with his dad, and goes back and forth between sleeping in motels or in his girlfriend’s car. He lived with his uncle until government housing restrictions kicked him out, and he is currently homeless until he moves into student housing at Boise State until June 6th. So for those of you keeping score at home, he’s homeless for a little over three weeks. The whole situation is incredibly tragic, but I’m sure a wealthy Boise State booster would be MORE than happy to foot the bill so the young man can stay at a hotel for three weeks to keep him from sleeping in a car. Hell, I’m sure a TON of Boise State fans would leap at the chance to help him out! Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s make it happen.
“NO!” shouted the evil NCAA, sending out this press release to the Idaho News Station that broke the story:
“We need to make it clear to your viewers and Bronco fans that it is NOT permissible within NCAA rules for boosters of Boise State athletics to provide benefits to Mr. Turner. That would include money, loans, gifts, discounts, transportation costs, etc.
While Mr. Turner’s need is abundantly clear, it is not permissible for Boise State, the athletics department or supporters of the athletics department to assist Mr. Turner at this time. Once Mr. Turner arrives on campus for the start of the summer school program, he will be well taken care of—receiving full tuition, room and board, books, fees etc. In the meantime, the compliance office is exploring a potential waiver with the NCAA that would allow us to provide assistance prior to the start of summer school.”
As if you needed another reminder that the NCAA is a group of money-grubbing heartless bastards, here it is. They’re not letting fans help a HOMELESS PERSON in any way, just because he’s a registered college athlete. If this isn’t dogshit to the dogshit power, I don’t know what is. It’s not like Boise State boosters are trying to pad his bank account to try to get him to come to the school, he’s already planning on going there! He’s not selling autographs or jerseys to try and buy a car, he just needs a place to sleep and a few hot meals.
I imagine that the higher-ups at the NCAA rest soundly made on pillows made of money actually earned by athletes, so I’m not going to pose the cliché question of how they sleep at night, but it baffles me that an organization that’s so bloated and really doesn’t have the best interests of athletes at heart gets away with so much nonsense like this as often as they do. They micromanage everything that a university’s athletic association does and seem to selectively pick and choose what they police; they seem to have no problem with people who exploit the system (Ie: Basketball teams that recruit players to be “one-and-dones”), but will come down on a school, guns blazing, for academic or recruiting violations. They ABSOLUTELY come after certain schools and turn blind eyes to others…for my beloved Syracuse Orange Men’s Basketball team, the words “Academically Ineligible” are as commonplace to hear during March Madness as “disappointment,” “fell just short” and “Hey, remember 2003? Good times.”
So here’s to you, NCAA, the douchebags of the week, every week. I hope that they do the right thing on this one, and don’t let themselves get caught up in red tape because, really, three weeks isn’t a long time for them. They can let three weeks go by and not make a decision on something like it’s their job.
But for someone who’s sleeping in a car? Three weeks can be an eternity.