And that’s when the donations began to roll in — and in and in.
Kara Carpenter, Stephen F. Austin’s assistant athletic director for compliance, said the school had started a GoFundMe account in September to help Bain raise money for his parents’ home in a way that would not violate N.C.A.A. rules. It had raised about $2,000 by Tuesday night and had not had a contribution in a month. But after his layup and an emotional postgame television interview, donations skyrocketed. As of Friday afternoon, the total had climbed to more than $137,000 with more than 3,500 people contributing.
“We wanted to reach the most people and control the donations so that people weren’t handing him cash on the side of the road,” Carpenter said.
N.C.A.A. Bylaw 126.96.36.199 (g) was put on the books in 2001, long before online fund-raising became popular. It allows schools to raise funds for athletes (and their families) who have been hit by extraordinary circumstances (e.g. natural disasters) as long as the schools track expenses and make sure that excess funds go to charity.
The limits of the bylaw were tested earlier this month when the broadcaster Jay Williams wanted to set up a GoFundMe page to raise the $11,500 that Memphis freshman James Wiseman must donate to charity before he can become eligible once he completes a 12-game suspension. That is the amount of money Wiseman’s mother accepted from Memphis Coach Penny Hardaway — then Wiseman’s high school coach — for moving expenses. The N.C.A.A. ruled that such an arrangement was not permissible.
Bain’s case, however, falls neatly within the N.C.A.A. guidelines. But the spike in donations made the case far less simple than it was before Bain’s game-winning shot.
Norris Bain said his 4,000-square foot home was insured for $350,000, but that it will likely cost more than that to rebuild. Two of the three building supply stores on the island were all but wiped out, leaving lumber and Sheetrock in short supply. The most efficient — albeit expensive — way to get building materials, he said, is to order them in Florida and have them shipped by boat to Freeport, which is about 90 miles east of Fort Lauderdale.
When the donations were a little over $2,000, as they were as recently as early Tuesday night, the money seemed certain to patch a hole or two in the rebuilding budget.