The NCAA granted a waiver on Thursday for Oklahoma to establish a fund to assist with funeral expenses for the family of Herman Mitchell. The ruling came only one day after OU filed the waiver on Wednesday night. OU spokesman Kenny Mossman said the university must handle the fund, and that donations exceeding expenses associated with Mitchell's funeral must go to a Houston-area charity, which Mitchell's family will be asked to choose. Mitchell, an OU football recruit from the Houston area, was shot to death on Aug. 24. Hours after Mitchell's death, Houston resident Adam Fineberg began soliciting donations to help pay for Mitchell's funeral expenses. But Tuesday, the NCAA warned OU's compliance office that money being raised by Fineberg could constitute as an NCAA rules violation against the Sooners. So Wednesday morning, Fineberg — an Oklahoma City native and Heritage Hall graduate — refunded $4,500 he had collected. The NCAA originally considered the money illegal financial assistance because Mitchell's brother is a sophomore fullback at Westfield High School in Spring, Texas, and because Fineberg is an OU fan who has attended Sooner football games and solicited donations through an OU fan Web site. "Our goal is to always work as quickly and thoroughly as possible to assist our members,” NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said. "This was a tragic situation, but we're glad we could assist the family and the institution.” Mitchell, 17, was on his way to Westfield for a football scrimmage on Aug. 24 when a fight broke out between Mitchell and 19-year-old Emile "Rusty” Lewis over ownership of a dog, according to police. Police said Lewis went to his apartment and returned with a rifle, shooting Mitchell several times and killing him. Police have arrested Lewis and charged him with murder. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops received an additional waiver from the NCAA to visit Mitchell's family, which he will do today. Mitchell's funeral service will be held Saturday at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston.Comments
Donating to the Mitchell fundIf you would like to donate, checks may be mailed to:The O Club McClendon Center for Intercollegiate Athletics Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium 180 W Brooks St. Norman, OK 73019 Checks must be made payable to the O Club and must be designated for the Mitchell fund in the memo. All checks must be received by Sept. 13.