Far too often, the NCAA makes headlines for itself in the worst possible way. Their archaic rules, hypocritical administrators, and mind-bogglingly dense decision making have usually gotten the governing body onto the wrong side of public perception. So it’s refreshing to see the NCAA finally do the right thing in the story of football prospect Antoine Turner and the Boise State Broncos.
Turner’s story has gained major traction on social media in recent weeks and helped force the NCAA into making a ruling on his case. The incoming freshman from New Orleans has faced a very difficult life, losing his mother to cancer when he was just four years old, suffering a strained relationship with his father, and losing an uncle in Hurricane Katrina. Due to his various financial and family issues, Turner has been forced to live out of a motel when he has the money or in his girlfriend’s car or even a park bench when he doesn’t.
Naturally, the fans and booster of Boise State wanted to reach out and help this young man but were informed by the school’s compliance office that any support would be a violation of NCAA rules. The school submitted a request for a waiver to start providing student aid to Turner immediately rather than having to wait for him to arrive on campus for summer school this June. Until then, however, NCAA rules prohibited Turner from being on campus, effectively keeping him homeless for another month.
For most people, this case is a no-brainer and would immediately grant the waiver for the young man to have someplace to live and food to eat. However, we’ve seen the NCAA drop the ball so many times before in seemingly simple, common sense situations that there was an overwhelming fear that this kid would be trampled under the bureaucratic foot of the NCAA.
But to the happy surprise of everyone involved, common decency prevailed in this situation. The NCAA quickly granted Boise State’s request for a waiver, allowing the school to to extend room and board to Turner immediately. After watching the NCAA drop the ball time and again, it’s nice when they finally get one right.