Alabama starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was suspended Wednesday for a violation of team rules, and on Thursday the reason for the suspension came out: Clinton-Dix accepted a loan from Alabama assistant strength coach Corey Harris. As it turns out, Clinton-Dix could have gotten a loan from the university without breaking NCAA rules.
After his car was broken into over the summer, Clinton-Dix asked Harris for a short-term loan to replace some stolen property and fix damages to his vehicle. He reportedly paid Harris back, but because Harris could be classified as an agent, the arrangement qualified as an illicit benefit, thus leading to the suspension and Harris being placed on administrative leave.
Because he was recovering from misfortune, Clinton-Dix had multiple options to legally receive money, according to NCAA expert John Infante of athleticscholarships.net.
If an athlete suffers a misfortune such as having his or her car or home broken into and robbed, the institution has multiple options to help the student-athlete out. One is the Student Assistance Fund, the combination of the old Student-Athlete Opportunity and Special Assistance Funds. That is money which comes from the NCAA to pay for these types of misfortune or emergency expenses.
But institutions do not even need to dip into the limited SAF funds when athletes are robbed. The NCAA has a set of pre-approved incidental expenses waivers. These are waivers for expenses that the institution can cover out of the general budget which were so common that the NCAA does not require the institution to submit a waiver application. The university simply pays the expense for the athlete, then files some paperwork with their conference that they used the waiver.
Instead, Clinton-Dix will have to sit -- one to three games, per CBS' Jeremy Fowler -- and Alabama is dealing with another off-field distraction. The school is investigating a Yahoo! Sports report alleging that former offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, who played on the 2012 BCS title team, received impermissible benefits during his time with the Crimson Tide.