Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

NAIA Rule May Force Thunder Fan To Give Up $20K From Halfcourt Shot


Remember when two Oklahoma City Thunder fans hit halfcourt shots last week? Cameron Rodriguez, the first one to win $20,000, might have to give up his money. He's a basketball player at Southwestern College, and the NAIA has to review as to whether or not he can keep the money, since Rodriguez has an athletic scholarship.


The scholarship's $4,000, but Rodriguez says that including books and other needs, he pays a total of $33,000 per year, according to Bloomberg News. Anyway, he and the school have asked the NAIA to look over the large amount of money and deem if Rodriguez can accept it.

The NAIA student guide says athletes cannot use their sports ability or fame for financial reward. John Leavens, the executive director of the NAIA Eligibility Center, said rulings on these cases typically take one to two weeks.

“It would certainly hurt his cause if he had tried to circumvent the rules,” Leavens said in a telephone interview. “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.”


Leavens says that if Rodriguez had won the prize in any non-basketball competition, he'd be able to keep it with no questions asked. DUMB. Rodriguez would lose a full academic year by taking the money. EVEN DUMBER.

For the record, the NCAA apparently makes an exception for promotions that choose random contestants, which means that the NCAA is somehow more forgiving than the NAIA. Bad looks, NAIA.

If Rodriguez can't keep the money, he says he'll donate it to a local non-profit. That's nice, but this whole situation is stupid. Let the kid keep the damn money.

[Bloomberg News]

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