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OU files waiver request to help recruit's family
NCAA ruling would establish fund; Fan returns money raised for funeral

By Jake Trotter Modified: August 30, 2007 at 12:44 am •  Published: August 30, 2007
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Oklahoma submitted a waiver request to the NCAA on Wednesday night, and if granted, the university would raise money for Herman Mitchell's family.

Mitchell, an OU football recruit from the Houston area, was shot and killed last Friday.

On Tuesday, the NCAA warned OU's compliance office that money being raised by Houston resident Adam Fineberg could constitute as an NCAA rules violation against the Sooners.

But later Tuesday, an NCAA spokesman said it would consider granting OU a waiver to raise funds.

OU spokesman Kenny Mossman said that if that happened, the fund would be established through the university.

He also said that funds exceeding expenses associated with Mitchell's funeral would go to another charity, which Mitchell's family would be asked to designate.

"We will look at their waiver request quickly and very seriously,” NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said on Wednesday.

Neither the NCAA nor OU could confirm exactly when a ruling could be expected.

Fineberg — an Oklahoma City native and Heritage Hall graduate — raised $4,500 over the weekend but returned all of the donations Wednesday morning.

"A lot of people were contacting me, concerned that their donations would get OU in trouble,” Fineberg said. "I'm going to let OU deal with the NCAA.”

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.

Fineberg said he expected to raise at least $10,000, which would've covered the cost of Mitchell's funeral.

Mitchell, 17, was on his way to Westfield for a football scrimmage last Friday afternoon 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.

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