For college athletes the summer consists of some classes in order to keep on track (or get ahead) academically while also working out with the strength coaches on campus. And with the dorms at many schools closed for the summer, the process of procuring off-campus lodging is an important one with summer scholarship checks being used to handle things such as housing deposits and monthly rent.
The problem for nearly 60 athletes at the University of Hawaii: clerical issues resulted in a nine-day delay in receiving the funds needed to take care of those necessities. As a result, according to the Associated Press seven of those athletes affected stayed in the locker room with energy bars providing the majority of their “nutrition.”
Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay accepted blame for the situation, stating that “when it comes down to it, we need to plan better.” But he also commented that NCAA rules prevented the school from helping those athletes, something that John Infante of AthleticScholarships.net had an issue with.
According to Infante the school could have assisted those athletes in need without concern of violating NCAA rules.
A waiver might not even be necessary under the NCAA’s new interpretations philosophy. Say the proposed action is advancing the athletes money to pay their rent and deposit and for groceries. There is essentially no benefit to the athletes; they are actually just getting what they should have gotten but for the NCAA’s error. Not having a place to live and having to eat energy bars instead of real food is a health and safety issue. This seems well within the “green” category under the new interpretation philosophy and Hawaii should have been able to help these athletes even without involving the NCAA.
Hopefully this is a situation Hawaii doesn’t find itself in down the line, but it’s probably safe to assume that they’ll be more mindful of possible clerical issues when it comes to making sure their scholarship athletes receive their checks on time.