University of Louisiana at Lafayette football coach Billy Napier created a new team rule that required all scholarship players to donate to the school’s athletics foundation, he announced earlier this week.
Once the school year begins, Napier wanted all scholarship players to become minimal $50 members for the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics Foundation (RCAF). The school has since backpedaled on its stance, claiming the donation is not mandatory. Previously Napier only specified that it was not mandatory for walk-on players.
“It’s all about gratitude,” Napier told reporters on Wednesday, per The Acadiana Advocate.
“That’s probably a little bit unheard of and a little bit unique, but I think this is a place where that would be appreciated,” he said. ”I think it’s part of the type of program that we want to have. We want our players to be educated and understand the benefits that come with being a student-athlete, and that is not something that should be taken lightly — the effort and time and investment that the people that support athletes at (Louisiana) have put into this program.”
Division I athletes who are offered a scholarship are not compensated by the university; however, they receive a full four-year education for a sport like football, which includes weekly allowances for food and traveling.
Napier was hired in 2017 after assistant coaching stints with Clemson, Colorado State, Alabama and Arizona State. The Ragin’ Cajuns played in the Cure Bowl last year. As part of his new initiative, Napier had the school’s RCAF executive director, Lee De Leon, speak to the team on Wednesday.
Napier added: “We’re trying to create a scenario where five or 10 years from now, these are guys who will give back and continue to be a part of the program and realize what this place did for them.”
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