When local Idaho TV station KTVB aired the inspirational story of Antoine Turner, a number of fans reached out to offer their support to the young Boise State football player.
There’s only one problem: Under NCAA rules, they can’t give it to him.
Turner, 21, lost his mother to cancer at the age of 4 and was displaced from his home city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Armed with only a “suitcase and a dream,” Turner traveled to California to stay with his uncle and enroll in junior college.
Turner starts summer school at Boise State on June 6, but he cannot stay with his uncle because of housing regulations, so until then, he is homeless.
When fans reached out to KTVB to offer aid after hearing of Turner’s plight, the TV station received a memo from the Boise State compliance office reminding them that it was “not permissible” for “boosters of Boise State athletics” to provide any aid to Turner, including “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,” the memo stated. “Once Mr. Turner arrives on campus for the start of the summer school program, he will be well taken care of. … 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.”
The NCAA has come under fire on many occasions for failing to provide adequate support to its student-athletes. In April, University of Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier ripped the NCAA, telling reporters he sometimes goes to bed “starving.”
The NCAA instituted an “unlimited meals” policy shortly after Napier’s comments.
UPDATE: The NCAA has allowed Boise State to provide “immediate assistance” to Turner.
After Boise State's request last night, the school may provide immediate assistance to football student-athlete Antoine Turner.—
(@NCAA) May 14, 2014