NCAA denies shutting down Clemson quarterback's coronavirus fundraiser

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his girlfriend were raising money in a GoFundMe campaign to help families affected by the pandemic.
College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU
Trevor Lawrence of the Clemson Tigers warms up before the college football national championship game against the LSU Tigers in New Orleans on Jan. 13, 2020.Alika Jenner / Getty Images file

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By Doha Madani

The NCAA denied shutting down a fundraiser started by Clemson University's star quarterback for families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trevor Lawrence started a GoFundMe campaign for families with his girlfriend, Marissa Mowry, who plays soccer at Anderson University, near Clemson in northwest South Carolina, and raised more than $2,500 before it was shut down. Mowry said on her Instagram page Monday that the couple were forced to take down the crowdfunding page and would be donating the money to Meals on Wheels and No Kid Hungry.

"Unfortunately, Trevor can not be a part of this because of compliance and some rules, so he can't help out anymore," Mowry said.

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She apologized to donors who thought they'd be giving money to individual families that need assistance amid the pandemic. Lawrence also apologized for the confusion in an Instagram story on Mowry's account.

"Thank you guys, all of y'all that donated. It's really much appreciated," Lawrence said. "It's going to help some kids and some elderly somewhere, so it's going to be very helpful."

Neither of the athletes specifically named the NCAA as the reason the crowdfunding campaign was shut down, but The State newspaper of Columbia reported Tuesday that a Clemson University official confirmed that it violated an NCAA rule regarding using names, images and likenesses for crowdfunding.

But the NCAA released a statement Tuesday saying it did not ask Lawrence to take down his fundraiser.

"We continue to work with member schools so they have the flexibility to ensure that student-athletes and communities impacted by this illness are supported, and we applaud Trevor for his efforts," the NCAA statement said.

It's unclear who alerted Lawrence and Mowry that they were in violation of the rules. Clemson University did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

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Mowry said she and Lawrence plan to write letters to families affected by the pandemic and to health care workers on the front lines of the fight.

"Again, our intentions were to try and help everyone," Mowry said. "And that's changed a little bit but we're still going to do our best to love on ya'll and support one another during this hard time."