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This is the type of story which illuminates not just the NCAA’s hypocrisy, but its malevolence as well. Antione Turner is a football player for Boise State University who has endured an incredibly traumatic life. Now, he is currently enduring a summer without a roof over his head.

Why? Because the NCAA, which hauls in approximately $1 billion annually, has rules which prohibit anyone from give money or aid of any kind to a football player for a school which makes over $15 million annually on its football program.

KTVB in Boise did a profile on Turner’s traumatic past and difficult journey to Boise, which Deadspin synopsized:

His mother died of cancer when he was four, and he and his father weren't close. Turner was in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina, eventually ending up in California at a junior college, living with his girlfriend and her family before moving in with his uncle. Due to government housing regulations, Turner can't stay at his uncle's place, and he isn't going to Boise State for summer school until June 6. So, he's currently homeless.
Naturally, when Boise State fans learned about Turner’s unspeakable condition, they reached out to help, wanting to find him shelter, wanting provide him with food, wanting to give him the support nobody else at Boise State University had provided because, according to NCAA rules, to do so would be to violate college football’s prohibition against players receiving ‘impermissible benefits’ of any kind.

The response was so overwhelming that Boise State University’s compliance office was forced to send the following letter for KTVB to broadcast in Boise.

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.

It is treatment like this, and rules such as these, which lay at the heart of a movement amongst college football players, begun at Northwestern University, to unionize. College football brings in staggering revenues for both the NCAA and big-time university programs, doing so by taking advantage of an unpaid labor force. Most college football players, or student-athletes, must ‘work’ for 50-60 hours a week at their ‘job’ in addition to being expected to attend classes.

It is for this reason that the National Labor Relations Board in March ruled that college football players at Northwestern University could indeed form a union, classifying them rightly as university employees, and not just students. It’s a decision that is being vigorously fought by the NCAA and university programs, scared of what such a shift in the landscape might do to their bottom lines and their control over this captive work force.

In the meantime, Turner must remain homeless until school starts while the NCAA spends millions to fight against college football players’ rights to, well, fight for their rights.

--§--

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.



Update:


Author's Note:

Boise State University is currently trying to get a waiver from the NCAA in order to help out Turner. This from Yahoo! Sports on his situation:

Turner played last season at Fullerton Junior College in California. After arriving there, he met his girlfriend and stayed with her family for over a year. He subsequently moved in with his uncle, but because of government housing regulations, he can't stay with him any longer.

Until he enrolls at Boise in June, he's planning on staying in motels when he can afford it and his girlfriend's car when he can't.

It's not the first time Turner has been homeless at Fullerton, either. When he arrived, he was carrying only "a suitcase and a dream" and without any money or help, initially slept on a park bench, where he dropped to 220 pounds after he initially weighed 290.

“I ain't never really had no blanket or nothing like that,” he said. “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.”

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (29+ / 0-)

    "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

    by David Harris Gershon on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:19:16 AM PDT

  •  NCAA = indentured servitude (7+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:26:45 AM PDT

    •  I know some will argue that, wait, aren't these (5+ / 0-)

      teenagers getting full scholarships to attend school? Isn't that enough?

      The answer, according to the NLRB, is an emphatic no. These are not just students. They are an unpaid work force which puts their bodies at intense risk with no compensation at all.

      Anyone who has been around a college football program knows how militaristic the culture and difficult the demands.

      If you believe a grad. student who teaches 2 classes should get $12,000, you damn well better believe that football players should be compensated as well.

      "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

      by David Harris Gershon on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:33:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the other way around; they are working for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peacestpete, wintergreen8694

        Their education. Their labor creates way more money than the scholarship is worth.

        Why are coaches millionaires & the highest paid "public employees"? It's cheaper to pay an overseer than the workers.

        This would be less problematic if
        the scholarships were for 4 years to include graduation.

        They could make some money to have a life.

        the NFL wasnt duplicitous in this scheme to have a "free minor league".

        The NCAA helped with the long term health problems these young men develop.

        The NCAA is on notice to stop stealing money & do right by their student/workers.

        Americans love slavery as long as the slave volunteers & it doesn't look or act like chattel slavery.

        I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

        by a2nite on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:13:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Where's the GOP? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, my2petpeeves

    Wait, this kid is the GOP's wet dream.  

    He is pulling himself up by his bootstraps in real time right  before the nation's eyes.

    This young man has nothing but meritocracy in his pockets.

    Here you go GOP, silver platter and all.  

    Now is your chance to explain to this country your plan to ensure that when people pull themselves up by their bootstrap, that there is somewhere for them to pull themselves up to.

    #taxTheNCAAtoPayForCollegeGrants

  •  The top 20 or 25.... (0+ / 0-)

    football and basketball schools that can make some money should go their own way and become semi-professional teams or something of that ilk. Get them out of the NCAA and let them do their own thing and deal with their own money/corruption issues.

    The rest of the schools can then continue on a legitimate student-athlete course with hopefully less pressure (and far less subsidy) from the rest of the school population.

    In this particular situation, I don't remember if Boise State runs a profitable football program over the years or whether it is in deficit, too. I know they have had some good seasons.

  •  Can't he just opt out of the entire NCAA system? (0+ / 0-)

    IOW, quit playing football and go to college for an education??

    And then accept all this generosity???

    •  Flaw: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, gramofsam1

      he is attending college on a football scholarship.  If he quits playing football, his scholarship disappears.

      In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

      by Cixelsyd on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:32:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The choice then would have to be between (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        the value of this scholarship, and the $ amount of the contributions mentioned in this diary.

        I suspect that the former must be more valuable . .. .

        •  Correct. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wintergreen8694

          Once classes begins, he will be well cared for by the university.  Free room and board and free education.  The donations were to try to cover the time between now and when classes begin, so he's not sleeping in the streets.

          In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

          by Cixelsyd on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:39:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No disrespect to him but (0+ / 0-)
        “I ain't never really had no blanket or nothing like that,”
        Sounds like he needs to finish primary school grammar.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:43:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, yes, yes, THAT'S the problem, his grammar. (4+ / 0-)

          Geesh.

          Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

          by gooderservice on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:51:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like you need to (0+ / 0-)

          re-read his life story.

        •  Actually disrespect is exactly what it sounds like (0+ / 0-)

          To me.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:51:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I applaud the fact that he is using his (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wintergreen8694

            skills to get up from a harsh beginning and have total sympathy for his squeeze. The NCAA rules that foster this suck, the whole way student athletes are treated is a rather dirty deal.
            That said, how the h3ll did he get through High School and into College without learning proper english?
            All too often, the student athletes are shortchanged on the education aspect of their scholastic careers in the service of their athletic careers from which everybody but them, makes a pile of money.
            "Social Promotion" allows someone who has very little usable education (and the ability to communicate properly in our mother tongue would qualify) to be put through the machine and end up, after a post-college career as long as 15 years and as short as "missed the draft" with, often, a broken body, TBI and limited education.
            Like I said, no disrespect to the victims of this system, total disrespect for the system.

            If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

            by CwV on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:07:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's possible (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, grover

      that having no parents and no home he actually needs to do something he excels at for his own well being.

      Not anyones place to judge a young man who went through such traumas, but if he wants to play football, he should be able to...telling him to just quit is one of those easy things to do from the comfort of a laptop.

      •  Telling him to quit was essentially just (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, milkbone

        another way to present the gist of this diary - i.e., the the NCAA -based system is completely corrupt / kaput and needs to be done away with.

        IOW, if somebody wishes to play football, the NFL should set up a minor league system similar to what Hockey or Baseball have.

        Or, if somebody wishes to gain an education, then they should go to college and do that unencumbered by - at the same time - also attempting to be for all intents and purposes a professional athlete.

        •  Careful what you wish for... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grover

          minor leagues aren't exactly the good life you make them out to be.

          http://bleacherreport.com/...

          In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

          by Cixelsyd on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:44:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said they were a "good life" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            milkbone

            but they do have the laudable function of deconvoluting sports and education.

            •  This (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy

              One of the reasons America's schools are worse than other countries' is because of the way sports culture has been baked into them. If people want to play sports, they can pay for them.

              Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

              by milkbone on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:08:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, at least in an academic setting (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                milkbone

                and the alternative would be, as I suggested above, getting paid in the minor leagues.

                For some, they'd rapidly advance up the ranks into more lucrative pay scales.

                For others, they'd get to spend a few years (maybe a decade or more) pursuing a rather frivolous pursuit while at the same time being rather well compensated compared to alternative sources of employment (e.g., at WalMart or McDonalds . .. )

                •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wintergreen8694
                  For others, they'd get to spend a few years (maybe a decade or more) pursuing a rather frivolous pursuit while at the same time being rather well compensated compared to alternative sources of employment (e.g., at WalMart or McDonalds . .. )
                  From the article I posted:
                  In my first year, I was paid a mere $800 a month. After housing, taxes, clubhouse dues and insurance were taken out, that was down to $300.
                  In Low-A ball, I lived without a refrigerator. I had a Styrofoam cooler in which I put milk and bread with ice I took from hotels. I didn't have any means by which to cook raw food—no range, not even a microwave. I lived entirely off of peanut butter and jelly simply because it wouldn't spoil, and it's what I could afford.
                  In spring training, you were given only $120 per week in meal money, no paycheck. That $120 was gone in three nights at a sit-down restaurant—or you could stretch it by eating fatty fast food all week. Ironic, since there are rules about proper diet and being in shape; they go out the window when you're barely paid enough to eat.

                  In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

                  by Cixelsyd on Wed May 14, 2014 at 12:55:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Question for anyone that might know (3+ / 0-)

    the NCAA prohibits boosters from giving benefits and prohibits players from accepting benefits relating to their status as athletes?

    Would it also prohibit non-boosters who don't care about this kid playing football at Boise St. from providing benefits?  Like a group collection for a homeless kid we happened to hear about  on the news?

    In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    by Cixelsyd on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:36:11 AM PDT

    •  This comment also gets to what I was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      more subtly trying to bring out above - in that there are probably tens of thousands of college age potential students in this predicament nation wide.

      Who no one gives a flying fuck about since they aren't high level athletes.

      IOW, the whole idea that "non-boosters" are going to ante up for this type of thing is highly far-fetched.

    •  Yes, I recall a story of a football player (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694

      who was married out of high school and lived off campus with his wife and child.  Folks at church noticed that the wife  and child needed basic clothing and they so they chipped in and bought them some...and a few pairs of jeans for him.  NCAA fined the school...

      Another friend was a track coach at a Div I school.  He had a student who was 600 miles from home and there was a death in the family.  He said if it was any other student he could have given the kid money for bus fare home.  But, if he gave an athlete money, the program would be sanctioned.  

      Slave labor indeed.

      BUT, I think a business owner could legitimately hire this kid.   If he is paid a fair wage and required to actually work for it, there should be no violation.  (I have seen Div I basketball player given a summer job by a booster that consisted of driving a sports car around town...not sure it would pass NCAA, but he got away with it.)

  •  This diary (0+ / 0-)

    does contain some misleading statements.

    The NCAA is an non-profit organization that sends most of that revenue out to member schools, so saying they ''haul in a billion'' does not recognize that most of that billion goes right back out to schools...like Boise St.

    Then saying that Boise St. football '' makes over 15 million annually''....again...that is gross revenues, which does not include expenses of 8 million, which results in a net of 7 million...which in turn pays for other sports which do not generate revenue, like womens bb, or gymnastics ect.

    Only 12 schools out of the Div 1 (130) schools, actually had more revenues than expenses in 2013 in their athletic depts.

    If you want to eliminate all non-revenue sports, and eliminate Title IX, then maybe you can pay the players.

    As for this young man's case, unfortunately, he is in a poverty situation, and that stinks, and the NCAA governing body is currently addressing this, but his situation was not created by Boise St or the NCAA...like all the other poor folks in this country, it is many factors, but not the NCAA or Boise St.

    If he was in the SEC, he would be taken care of by the Bagman....see recent article exposing how down in the south the football recruits and players are given cash from boosters, routinely.  IN that culture, the fans feel that these guys deserve the cash, despite NCAA rules and that makes it socially acceptable and hard to prosecute.

    The rules will be changing to make the value of a scholly equal to the true cost, at the Big Five leagues...but Boise is not in that group.  A stipend of 2-3k will start next year at the Big Five leagues, along with lifetime schollys and other perks.

  •  Asdf (0+ / 0-)

    I am confused.

    According to the article, he is receiving room, board, foof, supplies.......

    Just what, exactly, is his temporary status as "homeless" causing harm, seeing as it merely temporary and in no sense literal??

    The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

    by GayIthacan on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:00:53 AM PDT

    •  It is in every sense literal (0+ / 0-)

      He sometimes sleeps in a car or on a park bench.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:06:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        Apparently you did not read the article:

        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.
        What part of that is unclear? Full tuition - room - board - fees.

        If he chose to arrive early for the Summer program, how is the university responsible for his actions? And should he not have made his status clear before arriving?

        I'm sure they will find a way to work around this issue, but that set of rules seems to serve a good purpose and requires an exception for cases like this. I doubt anyone meant these rules to interfere with a situation like this, merely that no one thought of it beforehand.....

        The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

        by GayIthacan on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:41:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'll answer both of you at the same time. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    My local university has a food pantry that provides food and other essentials to students.

    It's staffed by volunteers. It's run by students who get credit for their efforts.

    Many students skip meals, especially those on scholarship and those who are paying their own way through school.

    I think the NCAA would squawk less if student athletes had access to charitable services that all students did. It's not boosterism.

    It's common decency.

    We need a better safety net for students. SNAP rules for students are unreasonably restrictive.  For this reason, this university-based food pantry is one of my favorite charities.

    I suspect that many colleges have similar services for all students, not simply talented athletes.

    Check out your local university's website. Give them a call.  One by one, we can make a difference. If not for this young man, then for many other young people.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:09:50 AM PDT

  •  NCAA granted permission (3+ / 0-)

    for BSU to provide immediate assistance. That was fast.
    http://www.ktvb.com/...

  •  The Viking's Shariff Floyd went through a similar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    situation when he was at Florida and was forced to sit out three games for accepting a minimal amount of money to help him be able to attend all-star games his senior year of high school. He's currently the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NCAA. I don't think the NCAA is going to be able to get away with this kind of nonsense much longer.

  •  Can someone who isn't a fan help? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't give a fig about Boise State football.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:54:26 AM PDT

  •  Kudos to the NCAA. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    It acted fast and did the right thing.

    Now it needs to codify that waiver into policy. Making students and schools apply for waivers to live in safe housing that is available (and otherwise vacant to boot)   is nuts.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Wed May 14, 2014 at 02:20:49 PM PDT

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