An NAIA basketball player might have to forfeit the $20,000 he won by making a half-court shot at an NBA game if he wants to maintain his collegiate-sports eligibility.
Cameron Rodriguez, who plays for Southwestern College of Winfield, Kan., sank the big-money shot at halftime of an Oklahoma City Thunder game on Nov. 18.
Before accepting the cash, he sought a ruling from the NAIA. Rodriguez is asking if the $20,000 can be used as a scholarship toward his tuition, which is $23,000 per year. The NAIA likely will have an answer in one or two weeks.
"It would certainly hurt his cause if he had tried to circumvent the rules," John Leavens, executive director of the NAIA Eligibility Center, told Bloomberg News. "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."
Should the NAIA refuse Rodriguez's appeal, and if he decides not to keep the money, the sponsor of the half-court-shot promotion, MidFirst Bank, would donate the cash to a charity of Rodriguez's choosing.
Rodriguez was the fourth person to hit a half-court shot at a Thunder game since February. At the team's next home game, a fifth person made the $20,000 attempt.