Boise State recruit Antoine Turner is currently homeless, though the school can't do anything to help Turner until he officially arrives on campus in June.
Turner's story was documented Sunday evening by Boise's KTVB. After the special aired, Boise State's compliance office sent out a letter advising fans to not assist Turner because it was against NCAA rules.
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.
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.”
While with his girlfriend's family, he says he gained back 45 pounds.
He came to Fullerton after leaving New Orleans, where he lived during his childhood. After his mother's death, he lived with different people in the Lower Ninth Ward until the area was devastated during Hurricane Katrina.
Following the hurricane, he ran drugs for gang members.
“They had some big guys running New Orleans' streets, and they'd ask me to take this from point A to point B,” Turner told KTVB. “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."
Because of Turner's unique situation, here's to hoping that the NCAA will act quickly in granting Boise State a waiver to help him in the weeks leading up to his arrival on campus. A waiver would allow the school to bring him to Idaho before school started and would come three years after the school violated NCAA rules when recruits crashed with players on recruiting trips.
Those violations should have no bearing on any potential waiver request for Turner, however. There's no reason he should be forced to live in a car without the ability to (legally) receive any assistance until June. And no matter what he does on the field for Boise State, he'll be one of college football's success stories.
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