Collegiate athlete gets to keep crowdfunded donations to continue college career after being disowned by family for being lesbian
A collegiate athlete was disowned by her parents because she was a lesbian, a fact that came to the fore after she was given tens of thousands of dollars in crowdfunded donations
Emily Scheck was allowed to remain on her college team and keep the money she had crowdfunded as the NCAA bowed to pressure and announced that it would not force her to make a choice between tuition money and her Canisius College cross-country running squad, Daily Mail reports.
Speaking to OutSports.com, Scheck said that her family disowned her after her mother found a picture of her on social media with a woman who she was dating at the time. Her mother texted her: "Well, I am done with you. As of right now, declare yourself independent. You are on your own. Please don’t contact us or your siblings."
The embattled student was then left with a choice between leaving school and entering a sexual conversion therapy or being disowned by her family. While she opted against conversion therapy, Scheck claims she found her car's license plates removed and her childhood belongings shoved into the vehicle when she returned to her campus home in Buffalo.
She had purchased the automobile herself, but her tuition, books, car insurance and other items — things she hadn't paid for — had suddenly become a huge problem. "At the start, it was definitely tough," Scheck said. "I was lucky to be in pre-season the first couple of weeks because coach could get us meals in the dining hall."
Scheck has often had to rely on her girlfriend for food. While she works several jobs to support her career, she realized she needed help when the mounting bills became unfeasible. When her coaches tried and failed to find a solution, friends of hers stepped in to launch a GoFundMe page and raised over $100,000 in donations.
Timothy Scheck, Emily's father, spoke to The Buffalo News and said he wanted his daughter to return home and participate in counseling sessions, which is not the same as conversion therapy. He expressed regret for initial comments he made to his daughter and said the family accepts her as she is. According to him, those comments about disowning her were simply a ploy to get her to come back home. "It's a private family matter," he said. "We love our daughter. We accept Emily."
However, despite the massive donations she received on the crowdfunding page, NCAA (the governing body of collegiate athletics) rules forbid college athletes and their families from receiving goods or services based on the status of an athlete, meaning she would either have to return the money or quit the cross country running team. But the NCAA changed its position as soon as it was contacted by The Buffalo News, and subsequently released a statement which read: "Emily Scheck can retain her eligibility and continue to receive GoFundMe donations that assist her with living and educational expenses."
As long as Canisius monitored the situation to ensure the money was being spent on necessary items, Emily could keep the donations raised, the NCAA announced. "Canisius and the NCAA will continue to work together in support of Emily," college spokesperson Matt Reitnour said. "She is a member of the Canisius family and we will do whatever we can to assist her."