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The Philadelphia Daily News

The NCAA often gets it wrong. This time, it got it right.

The oft-maligned organization yesterday granted permission for Boise State to provide assistance to Antoine Turner, a homeless football recruit who graduates from Fullerton Junior College next week.

Turner will be allowed to live in a dorm on the Idaho campus at the end of the month instead of waiting until the beginning of the first summer session. In addition to a full scholarship, he will receive a meal plan and his books and fees will be covered.

It all means that the 6-3, 280-pound defensive end won't have to sleep on a park bench, or in his girlfriend's car anymore.

Turner told WTVB in Boise that he had a tough childhood growing up in New Orleans.

His mother died when he was 4, which he said, "left a big hole" in his heart. He didn't get along with his father so he moved in with an uncle in the poverty-stricken Lower Ninth Ward.

But his uncle was killed during Hurricane Katrina and the house he was living in was destroyed. With no place to go, he took up with a gang as a drug-runner. The gang members, he said, "may be thugs and they may be gangsters, but they actually cared."

Turner said when the gang found out he played football in high school, they "gave him a pass."

"They just said, 'Look man, you're going to be good. Anytime you have a problem, you let us know. You're going to be alright around here.' "

Eventually, he moved in with another uncle in California, arriving with nothing but "a suitcase and a dream." He enrolled at Fullerton and played football, where he was discovered by Boise State coach Bryan Harsin.

Last Sunday, KTVB did a story on Turner and the fans of Boise clamored to help. That led the school to issue a statement saying that giving Turner any type of monetary gifts or benefits could jeopardize his eligibility.

And that led to the NCAA doing the right thing.

May 15, 2014

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