Below you’ll find a post I wrote this morning bashing the NCAA for being the most evil villain of all-time by forcing a Boise State football recruit to remain homeless. There’s a lot more to it than that (go ahead and read below) but just before this post was set to publish, the NCAA announced, “the school may provide immediate assistance to football student-athlete Antoine Turner.” Mark Emmert’s heart grew three sizes today.
Yesterday we found out the NCAA is anti-jersey chaser, today we have discovered they’re also pro-homeless.
Antoine Turner is a 6’3″ 280 lb. defensive end committed to play at Boise State this Fall but until summer classes start June 6, Turner is without a home. Turner has overcome unbelievable odds to get on the right track. After his story was told by Boise’s KTVB, numerous alumni reached out to give the man a place to stay for the month, but NCAA rules forbid it and could make Turner ineligible.
It isn’t nothing new to Turner, who has lived the majority of his life as a drifter. His mother died when he was four, straining the relationship with his father before taking to the streets of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Hurricane Katrina made things even worse, taking whatever he had left. He soon became involved with gangs, gaining protection for using his size to be a drug mule. It was a scary situation, but sports were his saving grace. He was good enough to play Division I, but he didn’t have the grades, taking him to Fullerton Junior College in California.
Turner went to California with “a suitcase and a dream,” but it wasn’t a California dream. Turner was living on a park bench and lost 70 pounds during the struggle. His saving grace was his girlfriend’s family, who took him in as one of their own. Unfortunately her family lives in government housing, with regulations forbidding the family to support Turner during his final month before school. As Boise State alumni tried to step in to help Turner, the Boise State compliance office released this statement: (h/t Deadspin)
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.
Turner has been able to overcome New Orleans gang life and one of North America’s worst natural disasters, but the buck stops at Mark Emmert.
I highly suggest you take a look at the original piece linked above. His story of survival is truly amazing and will make you appreciate what you have.