NCAA Blamed for Baylor's Dismissal of Once-Homeless Athlete

February 26, 2015

The dismissal of a Baylor University football player who was homeless a year ago prompted widespread outrage directed at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Wednesday after the player tweeted that the N.C.A.A. declared him ineligible for accepting help from a family friend. But the N.C.A.A. did not rule the student ineligible, and the association even allows for universities to apply for waivers for homeless students in need of assistance.

"In 2014, I was just a kid who [couch] surfed and took classes at a community college, but I had a dream to play college football," the player, Silas Nacita, said in a tweet that was shared more than 18,000 times. "However a few months before [I enrolled at Baylor], a close family friend approached me and said they didn't want me sleeping on floors and wondering how I was going to eat the next meal, so they insisted on putting me in an apartment and helping out with those living expenses." Because he accepted that offer "instead of choosing to be homeless," Nacita said, the N.C.A.A. declared him ineligible to play football.

The N.C.A.A. said on Wednesday that it did not declare Nacita ineligible and that Baylor has not requested a waiver for him. Baylor confirmed later that day that it was the university that declared Silas ineligible, not the N.C.A.A. "There was some misinformation on Twitter that caused that confusion," said Nicholas Joos, Baylor's executive associate athletic director of external affairs. Joos did not say why Nacita was dismissed or whether it would apply for the N.C.A.A.'s waiver. Nacita will reportedly remain a student at Baylor, and is there on academic -- not athletic -- scholarships.

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