By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
Watch Cameron's interview on ESPN | Click HERE
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced on Tuesday (Dec. 10) that Cameron Rodriguez of Southwestern College (Kan.) will be allowed to retain his winnings from a half-court shot during a National Basketball Association (NBA) halftime promotion. There was a question in regards to his amateur status, but the NAIA’s National Eligibility Committee (NEC) granted Southwestern College’s request for an exceptional ruling to a standard rule.
Since the announcement on Dec. 10, Rodriguez has been featured on national media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, USA Today Sports, NBA and NBC Sports. In addition, his story has gone viral on social media with media outlets, journalists and other media players tweeting the story out to their more than 2 million followers.
“We’re pleased with the decision from the membership and specifically the NEC that allows Cameron to keep his winnings to use towards his education,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We feel the NAIA is the student-centered association in collegiate athletics, and this decision by our membership reflects that emphasis.”
Rodriguez, a men’s basketball player at Southwestern College, made the shot Nov. 18 during halftime of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Denver Nuggets after being selected at random. At the time of the basket, he was the fourth person since February to hit the franchises’ $20,000 half-court shot.
Rodriguez will have to maintain his amateur status throughout the remainder of his eligibility. The NAIA defines amateurism as a student who engages in athletic contests for educational values, personal pleasure, satisfaction, and for the love of the sport, not for monetary or material gain.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered sports programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience for its 250-plus member colleges and universities. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. For more information, visit www.naia.org.