Bronco Fans CANNOT Help Homeless Player
I'm such a sucker for sports stories that pull at the heartstrings because of my incredible experience on my high school's track and field team. I was instantly captivated by KTVB sports director, Jay Tust's story about Antonie Turner. Turner is currently homeless as he prepares to come to play on the Blue and NCAA regulations won't let Boise State fans help the young man.
In Tust's story "A Suitcase and a Dream," he tells the story of Turner overcoming adversity since the age of four when his mother passed away. Turner didn't have a great relationship with his dad and ended up leaving home when he was very young, only to have the Lower 9th Ward apartment complex he was staying at in 2005 destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Over the next few years he learned to survive by running drugs across post-Katrina New Orleans after school. The dealers he was involved with protected him while he played High School football, but his grades weren't high enough to get him into a Division-I NCAA school so he packed his things and headed for Fullerton Junior College in California.
He spent most of his time there sleeping on a park bench or bouncing between homes belonging to his girlfriend's family. Sadly, the uncle he was staying with had to kick Turner out just weeks before his journey to Boise State for summer school. That means motels or sleeping in cars until at least May 31st.
With Idaho ranking as the 9th most charitable state on a recent Top 10 list, it's no surprise that the Treasure Valley want to help Turner out. Unfortunately NCAA regulations say accepting help from any Boise State boosters would destroy Turner's eligibility at BSU. BSU's compliance office sent Tust a statement explaining that Bronco fans cannot send Turner money, loans, gifts or discounts as long as he plans on being a student athlete. The college will give him full tuition, room and board, books and fees once he begins summer classes. They elaborated that those not affiliated with the college could only help Turner if they had a logical tie to his life before the story aired.
I was a student athlete myself (albeit it was Divison III) and still never clearly understood the rules on gifts for student athletes. To me this isn't a case of the student athlete receiving free tattoos or cars for being who they are, it's an opportunity for Turner's new Bronco fam to help him out with some basic necessities to live in the Treasure Valley for a few days before summer school starts in Early June. Which leads me to the question...