"Wake up, survive. Go to sleep, survive. Wake up, survive. Every day."
This is the daily regimen of Antoine Turner, a junior college commit for the Boise State football program who is currently homeless and has lived in transience most of his life.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 14 at 1:30 p.m. ET
The NCAA's Twitter account has sent out a message stating Boise State's request to provide immediate assistance for Turner has been approved.
Hallelujah. It appears Turner will sleep in a bed he can call his own sooner rather than later.
---End of update---
Boise State alumni, having heard his recently discovered story, want to help Turner—who has spent the majority of his life without a stable home. Unfortunately, the school is discouraging boosters and fans from furnishing aid to the young man, fearing reprisal from the NCAA.
"My mom died when I was four of cancer," Turner told Tust. "I had this big of a hole in my heart."
The loss ruined what little relationship Turner had with his father, causing him to leave home to stay with various friends in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Thus began the long chain of temporary and transient living conditions for Turner, who grew up to be a talented athlete despite his situation.
Growing into a 6'3", 290-pound frame, Turner found success on his high school football field but struggled to stay clear of gangs and find lodging in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Determined to play collegiate football, Turner spent all the money in his possession to make it to Fullerton Junior College in California. He made the team but was penniless. He says he began sleeping on park benches to pass the night.
"I ain't never really had no blanket or nothing like that," Turner 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."
After dropping 70 pounds due to this lifestyle, his fortunes finally took a turn. Turner met a girl named R'Mya (now his girlfriend), whose family took him in and helped him to regain weight. Within a year, he returned to form and became the Division I football player Boise State wants on its team.
All the "We want you" letters in the world can't put a roof over Turner's head, however. Not at this moment, at least.
Turner is homeless again. His newly forged living arrangement fell through due to housing regulations which preclude him from staying with his uncle in a government-subsidized house.
Until he's allowed to move in at Boise State in June, Turner will be sleeping in his girlfriend's car and staying at motels when he has the money.
And there's nothing fans can do about it, according to the Boise State compliance office (per Deadspin).
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.
Indeed, needs don't come much clearer cut than Turner's. Despite his situation, the young man still feels lucky to be on the cusp of a home and great opportunities.
"I feel like I owe Boise because they gave me something that I ain't never had before," Turner said. "Idaho fits perfect for me...my soul felt like it connected with [The Blue]. ... It's time to eat. And I'm hungry, too."
Do the right thing, Mark Emmert. Put the rubber stamp down, and let this man eat and sleep under a roof. Let's help a student-athlete today.
On the Twitters.
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