During the halftime of an Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game on Nov. 18, Cameron Rodriguez successfully sank a half-court shot at halftime and won a $20,000 prize.
However, Rodriguez may not be allowed to keep the money because he plays basketball for Southwestern College in Winfield, KS (video below).
According to SlamOnine.com, Rodriguez, who is on a $4,300 athletic scholarship, pays about $33,000 a year in tuition, fees, room and board. The 23 year old hoped to use his prize money to help pay off his extra bills.
But the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which Southwestern College is part of, has a rule against college athletes using their sports ability or name to make money.
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“I didn’t really think about it at first because I was way too excited,” Rodriguez told Bloomberg News. “After things settled down, I realized we might have an issue because I was receiving a large amount of money.”
The $20,000 prize is sponsored at every home game by Oklahoma City-based MidFirst Bank.
“It would certainly hurt his cause if he had tried to circumvent the rules,” said John Leavens, the executive director of the NAIA Eligibility Center. “The fact that he connected with the right officials to make sure that he understood the proper application of the rule is something that we expect, and we’re glad to see.”
Leavens said it would take a week or two for the NAIA to rule on the prize money.
If the NAIA rules that Rodriguez can’t keep the money, then MidFirst Bank offered to donate it to a charity in his name.