Bronco Beat

NCAA approves Boise State's request to provide extra assistance to homeless football recruit

The NCAA approved Boise State's request to offer immediate assistance to football commit Antoine Turner on Wednesday morning.

Boise State will contact Turner immediately and ask what help he needs, a school spokesman said Wednesday after the NCAA ruling. Turner is still attending junior college classes in California.

KTVB reported this week that Turner, who has been homeless in the past, has been living in hotel rooms and his girlfriend’s car recently while he finishes the semester at Fullerton (Calif.) College.

Turner is scheduled to arrive at Boise State on June 1 — a month earlier than most incoming recruits. A summer session begins June 9.

Fans have offered to help Turner, but NCAA rules consider that an impermissible benefit.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said earlier Wednesday that he wishes his program could do more to help Turner, an incoming defensive tackle, but the school’s “hands are tied on certain things.”

“We’ve been involved in it as much as we can,” Harsin said. “ Do you wish you could give the guy some money and all that? You can’t do that. The human factor, you want to jump right over there and pick him up and drive him home.

“I’ve talked with Antoine about, he’s survived this far. He’s had unfortunate situations, and he knows it, and we’ve talked about it, but the reality is, I told him the other night, ‘Your situation is going to change as far as living goes, but your life is going to get harder because you’re going to come here and you’re going to graduate and we’re going to expect a lot out of you.’ His response is, ‘That’s what I want.’

“The guy is resilient. I’ve been happy with the support from people who have reached out (to try to help). The hard part is explaining that you can’t.”

Turner, a Hurricane Katrina survivor from New Orleans, didn’t tell the Boise State coaches about his latest homelessness.

“Every time we call him, it’s, ‘How you doing?’ ‘Great.’ He never let on that he has a rough situation,” Harsin said. “To me, you have to allow a guy to continue with that to some degree. For whatever reason, that’s part of his life. He’s not ashamed of it. He’s adapted to make it work. He’s not looking for a handout. He’s dealing with his situation.”

Boise State gave Turner his only scholarship offer, shortly before Signing Day. Harsin liked his personality immediately.

“He’s had to do a lot to get here,” Harsin said. “He’s earned this. He’s expected to come in here and graduate and play and play at a high level. Along the way, he’s got a really great personality and I liked him from the get-go when he came on his visit. His experience and his attitude is going to do more for this team outside of the football part of things, in my opinion.”

Turner still has a hurdle he has to clear to join the Broncos. He needs to complete a heavy course load this semester, which ends May 24, to get eligible for major college football. Harsin expects Turner to get that done but said it’s possible his arrival will be delayed until July if he comes up short of the credentials required to enroll at Boise State.

Turner was not on an athletic scholarship at Fullerton. There are no scholarships or room and board for athletes at community colleges in California, according to Jason Boggs, the assistant director of sports information and communications for the California Community College Athletic Association.

"The California community colleges don't offer any kind of scholarships," Boggs told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday.

Most of the association's 104 community colleges — 70 play football — do not have dorm rooms. Those that do have dorms require payment from the student.

Boggs said it is against the association's rules for coaches or assistant coaches to house a player. He said he did not have a "definitive answer" as to whether a coach or assistant coach could house a player after his playing days.

"I don't know how we could really say no to that," Boggs said.

Brian Murphy contributed to this report.

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