Earlier in the week you probably saw a video on social media featuring Trevor Lawrence and Marissa Mowry, an Anderson University soccer player and girlfriend to Trevor, discussing their gofundme to help raise money for those most effected in the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s pretty awesome when a couple of athletes use their position to help out those less fortunate, and it’s a bigger boost when one of those athletes is college football’s biggest stars. It was a great idea, but unfortunately one that couldn’t operate under current NCAA rules without a waiver. Lawrence and Mowry are not allowed to use their image for promotional reasons, so Clemson’s NCAA Compliance Department shut the fundraiser down over concerns that it would violate NCAA rules.
While by default the fundraiser would appear to violate NCAA rules, there is a precedent set for the NCAA to suspend this rule in extenuating circumstances. We probably all remember or have Clemson being allowed in 2006 to set up a fund for defensive back Ray Ray McElrathby, who was raising his younger brother on top of being a D1 athlete. In 2015 LSU running back Leonard Fournette was allowed to auction off his game jersey from the LSU-South Carolina game to raise money for flood damage relief in Columbia. Since Lawrence’s fundraiser was taken down, the NCAA reached out to the University and told them that during this crisis the university may use discretion involving charities.
SOURCE: The NCAA has reached out to Clemson about Trevor Lawrence’s fundraiser and told them the NCAA will allow university discretion on charities that support the community during this crisis.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 24, 2020
My guess: Lawrence and Mowry will probably get to raise money for COVID-19 relief, but the Universities may have them pair with a specific charity as opposed to gofundme.
While we as college sports fans have argued ad naseum about whether or not players should get paid, I think we can all agree that a player should be able to help raise money for a good cause. While the NCAA probably fears athletes using gofundmes to make money *gasps*, the NCAA remains bullheaded in not doing anything to facilitate things for a player wanting to help out a cause. We’ve seen it multiple times where the an athlete tries to raise money for charity, the NCAA shuts it down, and then goes back and allows it. It would be much easier if the NCAA could find a way to streamline it, such as with a simple waiver form that student-athletes can send in and get their charitable actions approved. It not only would be a good method to help people, but it might make the NCAA look a bit more caring and not as heartless as they usually do.
In the meantime, if you want to help out a charity that the NCAA can’t shut down, please consider donating to our COVID-19 fundraiser for Clemson Community Center to help those in the Clemson area who are struggling during this time. You can donate to our Facebook fundraiser here.