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Houston’s Hurricane Harvey donation drive comes with NCAA red tape


Houston Athletics

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson has been repeatedly praised over the last week for help in relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey pummeled the city with flood waters.

Calling for t-shirts and shoes from other college athletic departments on Twitter, Sampson received over 1,300 commitments for aid as the push for help went viral.

The school and Sampson have seen an unbelievable response with boxes and letters coming in from all over the country.

The only problem is that Houston can’t distribute any of those boxes to the people who need them most until the NCAA allows them to do so.

In a report from Larry Seward of KHOU, the Cougars are awaiting NCAA clearance in order to distribute the clothing so that it doesn’t go to the wrong kind of people.

From Seward’s report:

“They don’t want us sending all this nice gear to the top recruit in Houston,” said Lauren Dubois, senior associate athletics director for UH. “But, obviously that is not our intention at all.”

Dubois said the program risks punishment if they give anything to potential recruits, their parents or youth leagues.

So, the university first offered everything to the Red Cross, Star of Hope and Hurricane Harvey relief. All had different needs.

The school is now asking legitimate charities to step in, take donations and give them away as those organizations see fit.

Houston has also asked the NCAA for a legislative relief waiver, according to Seward’s story, which would enable Sampson and Houston to give away the donations on their own.

Hopefully the NCAA will make the right decision and allow Houston to start to distribute this gear. While the NCAA hasn’t said “no” -- and they’ll almost assuredly allow Sampson and the program to give away the donations -- by waiting this long, they’ve made themselves look silly over a bureaucratic matter.

UPDATE: The NCAA publicly responded on Saturday morning on Twitter.