Thunder half-court shot winner Cameron Rodriguez may not get to keep $20,000
Last week, an Oklahoma City Thunder fan named Cameron Rodriguez drained a half-court shot during halftime of a win over the Denver Nuggets and won $20,000. Remarkably, he is one of five Thunder fans to drain the same shot for the same amount of money this calendar year. However, Rodriguez may not be able to keep the cash.
Rodriguez, 23, is a basketball player at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) rules clearly state that a student athlete cannot use their sports ability for financial gain while still in college. According to SFGate.com, Rodriguez and his school are asking the NAIA for a rules exception that would allow him to use the money toward tuition.
“I didn’t really think about it at first because I was way too excited,” Rodriguez told SFGate.com. “After things settled down, I realized we might have an issue because I was receiving a large amount of money.”
John Leavens, the executive director of the NAIA eligibility center, praised Rodriguez for contacting the right people immediately and said cases like this typically take one or two weeks to resolve.
“It would certainly hurt his cause if he had tried to circumvent the rules,” Leavens said. “The fact that he connected with the right officials to make sure that he understood the proper application of the rule is something that we expect, and we’re glad to see.”
Hopefully Rodriguez gets to keep the money — especially if he is not on a full scholarship. A half-court shot is difficult for anyone to make, hence why we see reactions like this when people find a way to sink them. The fact that he plays basketball should not prevent him from keeping the $20,000.