In the world of college recruiting, “oral commitments’ are considered non-binding. Makes sense when you’re dealing with teen agers and cut-throat coaches. If you’re murdered, though, the NCAA considers an “oral commitment” to be forever.
Herman Mitchell, a linebacker from Houston’s Westfield High School, said in June he would play for Oklahoma. Signing day was more than six months away.
Last Friday, Mitchell was shot and killed.
Adam Fineberg, a Houston resident and OU booster, raised about $4,500 he planned to give to Mitchell’s family to help with funeral costs. When Oklahoma’s compliance officials heard about it, they asked Fineberg to cease and desist. He was violating NCAA rules regarding illegal financial assistance.
Mitchell’s younger brother is a sophomore and a potential recruit; Fineberg is considered a booster/representative of OU football. Herman Mitchell had said he planned to attend OU. All those facts should mean nothing because Herman Mitchell is dead.
Fineberg has refunded the money. He might be able to re-collect it. OU is seeking an NCAA waiver that would allow for money to be donated to the Mitchell family because of the unique circumstances.
In these types of cases, the NCAA is a big, fat, easy target. I’m guilty as charged. Common sense should always win out over a strict intepretation of the rules.