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Friday, October 31, 2014

Boise State fans can’t help homeless player Antoine Turner because of NCAA rules

Antoine-TurnerBoise State recruit Antoine Turner is currently homeless. He will not be officially enrolled at Boise State until he arrives on campus in June, so he is left to stay at motels and in his girlfriend’s car until the school year begins. And if you want to help him out, well, you can’t — NCAA rules prohibit it.

A segment that was aired on Boise’s KTVB 11 on Sunday evening documented Turner’s story, explaining to viewers how he stayed with his girlfriend last year while playing at Fullerton Junior College in California. He later moved in with his uncle but can no longer stay with him because of government housing regulations.

As you might expect, the story touched the hearts of many. Realizing that, the Boise State compliance office asked KTVB to air a memo urging fans to not provide Turner with any benefits.

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.

And this is why everyone hates the NCAA.

“I ain’t never really had no blanket or nothing like that,” Turner told KTVB, explaining that at one point he had to sleep on park benches. “So I could either lay across this or I would sit (with my arms folded) and lay my head down. I constantly wake up, look around, make sure everything was good.”

Turner’s mother died of cancer when he was four, which he says left a “big hole” in his heart. After Hurricana Katrina virtually destroyed his hometown of New Orleans, Turner began running drugs for gang members just to survive.

“They had some big guys running New Orleans’ streets, and they’d ask me to take this from point A to point B,” he explained. “It would be anything for narcotics, weed, anything they just put in my bag. Sometimes I wouldn’t even look because I’d be scared.

“I’d do that just for protection so I wouldn’t get hurt. So my family wouldn’t get hurt.”

Hopefully the NCAA will approve Boise State’s waiver request and do so in a timely fashion. They have already offered Turner a scholarship, and his unique situation should allow him to become a part of the Boise State family as soon as possible. All rules have exceptions.

UPDATE: The NCAA said Wednesday that Boise State can begin helping Turner.

H/T Dr. Saturday



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