Emily Scheck is a cross-country runner at Canisius, a small New York college. When her family discovered she was dating a woman, they disowned her in the most horrible way possible, literally cutting off all contact to the point of taking off the license plates from her car, stuffing all belongings in the car, and telling her to never speak to them again. Horrifying enough. So Scheck needed food and a place to stay. Say hello to the NCAA!!!
With no support from her parents, she had no ability to pay for the next semester’s tuition — a semester’s full tuition at Canisius College is upwards of $18,000. She was on a partial athletic scholarship, but she was looking at many other costs that would add thousands of dollars.
Plus her car had been sitting in a driveway for months. While she owned the car, she simply had no way of covering for her parents’ withdrawal of insurance funds.
She was stuck.
Her friends noticed their friend in dire financial straits. That’s when her roommate created a gofundme page detailing Scheck’s plight and asking people to donate to their friend, abandoned by her parents simply for being who she is. Her roommate set a goal of raising $5,000.
Within several days she had raised $25,000.
That’s when someone at the school or the NCAA — Scheck isn’t quite sure — took notice. She said she was contacted by an NCAA compliance officer at Canisius College and told she had two options, per his communication with the NCAA: Return every penny and maintain her NCAA eligibility, or keep the money and leave the cross-country team.
She said the school offered to try to find some way to work with the NCAA to then raise some money all over again, but there were no guarantees. She claims lawyers were going to have to get involved, and there was no assurance she’d come out the other side of it with a penny.
All Sheck wanted was to buy some food, buy some books, pay her tuition and get some insurance for her car, so she wasn’t stuck. Going with the first option — returning the money and just hoping for a solution — made no sense.
So Scheck, along with her roommate, chose door #2: In order to buy food and books, she would have to take the kindness of strangers and leave the team. That was the NCAA rule.
That also, of course, is a public-relations nightmare for Canisius College and the NCAA. Headlines like “NCAA and Catholic college force disowned gay athlete to return donations for food and books” don’t bode well for either.
Yet that’s exactly what happened.
There’s the noble ideals of amateurism in action!
The NCAA backed down after the story was published, but the fact that it would get to this point is Exhibit #1,082,271 at what a disgusting, horrible, awful institution the NCAA is.