The NCAA has ruled that Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence can raise funds for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak after the school’s compliance department asked him to stop doing so.
Lawrence and his girlfriend, collegiate soccer player Marissa Mowry, started a GoFundMe page and quickly raised more than $2,600 as of late Monday, The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, reported.
The couple planned to donate money raised from the campaign to organizations such as No Kid Hungry and Meals on Wheels, Mowry wrote on Instagram.
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Letter nominations: Email their name, place of work, and profession (email below) If you want to donate to specific organizations that will help fight the impact COVID-19 has had, use the link in my bio to donate to: No Kid Hungry or donate to Meals on Wheels. Thank y’all in advance for the impact you all will make! Email: TrevorMarissa1016@gmail.com
Hours later, though, the couple took the page down at the request of compliance officials at Clemson, who told the national championship-winning quarterback that the charitable gesture was noncompliant with NCAA policy.
Although the NCAA was not directly responsible for the page’s removal, the oft-criticized collegiate sports governing body took a beating online:
Trevor Lawrence & his girlfriend set up a #coronavirus relief fund on GoFundMe.
That should be the story.
Instead, we are talking about whether NCAA rules prevent Lawrence from using his name, image & likeness in a charitable manner. Really? This nonsense must come to an end.
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) March 24, 2020
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) March 24, 2020
TREVOR LAWRENCE STARTED A GOFUNDME TO HELP FINANCIALLY SUPPORT VICTIMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS.
IT FAILED TO COMPLY WITH NCAA GUIDELINES. SO, AS OPPOSED TO MAKING A SPECIAL EXCEPTION– THE PAGE GETS TAKEN DOWN.
SORRY SICK PEOPLE… ONLY THE NCAA GETS TO CAPITALIZE OFF OF HIS FAME.
— Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) March 24, 2020
The NCAA quickly defended itself on Twitter and announced that it had not ordered Lawrence to take the page down:
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 24, 2020
“The NCAA did not ask Clemson student-athlete Trevor Lawrence to take down his fundraiser for COVID-19 patients and their families,” the NCAA’s statement read. “We continue to work with member schools so they have the flexibility to ensure that student-athletes and communities impacted by this illness are supported, and we applaud Trevor for his efforts.”
Fox News reported Lawrence thanked the NCAA for granting him a waiver via his Instagram story.
“Shoutout to the NCAA. Thank y’all so much for granting a waiver,” he said on the photo-sharing platform. “They’re allowing us to continue to raise money for what we were doing originally. So we’re gonna take some time and kind of think about how we’re going to restart it back up.
“We’re going to take the night and maybe some of tomorrow or whatever to figure out exactly how we want to do it to be as efficient and to help as many people as possible,” the Christian student-athlete added.
“I just wanted to thank the NCAA, really. Everyone’s made them out to be the bad guy, but it was more so the rules that were already in place. They’ve done a really good job of responding and actually allowing us to do it,” he concluded.
The Clemson University Athletic Department also thanked the NCAA on Twitter for issuing a waiver allowing its athlete to raise money “to help people in a time of need.”
We are appreciative of the action taken by the NCAA this evening. pic.twitter.com/rq4zI8PpDR
— Clemson Athletics (@ClemsonTigers) March 24, 2020
As of late Wednesday morning, the football star’s GoFundMe page has not been reactivated.
It was unclear of Lawrence and his girlfriend planned to reactivate the original page or start another campaign.
One thing is certain: Lawrence’s efforts to help those in need will certainly have more awareness, now that the fundraising drive has made national headlines.
The idea that a well-intentioned student-athlete should have to risk being in violation of NCAA rules during a national emergency is an infraction against common sense.
Trevor Lawrence has showed nothing but class since his debut as a true freshmen in 2018, and this time is no different.
“Football is important to me, obviously, but it’s not my life,” the star player told reporters during the 2018 season. “My faith is.”
Rather than listen to critics of his performance on the field, Lawrence said he preferred “putting my identity in what Christ says — who he thinks I am and who I know that he says I am.”
Months later, Lawrence put on a clinic in the 2019 National Championship game, helping the Clemson Tigers route the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16.
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