NCAA waiver allows Charleston Southern to set up Chris Singleton fund

Charleston Southern baseball player Chris Singleton with his late mother, Sharonda Singleton. (Photo provided)

Charleston Southern has received a waiver from the NCAA allowing the school to set up a donation fund for baseball player Chris Singleton, whose mother was one of nine killed last week in the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

The Singleton Memorial Fund will be in memory of Sharonda Singleton, who was a coach and speech pathologist at Goose Creek High School and a minister at Emanuel AME.

Funds will be used to meet Chris Singleton’s educational expenses at CSU. Chris Singleton has asked that remaining funds go toward a planned CSU baseball enrichment center in memory of his mother.

“I am so excited today to hear what the NCAA has allowed us to do for Chris,” said CSU baseball coach Stuart Lake. “I’m very proud of the way the local baseball community has stepped up to help the Singleton family.”

School president Jairy C. Hunter Jr. said, “Charleston Southern University is committed to helping Chris through the difficult days ahead as he deals with the loss of his mother. This fund is just one way that we can be of assistance.”

CSU officials worked with the NCAA to obtain a waiver to assist Chris Singleton. NCAA rules normally prohibit extra benefits for student-athletes.

“The NCAA’s staff had very open conversations with the Charleston Southern staff about NCAA rules and waivers available to them,” said NCAA spokesperson Meghan Durham. “This is a tragic and unique situation, and scenarios like this are the reason that the waiver process is in place.”

In its release, CSU thanked the NCAA for “extending this opportunity to assist the Singleton family during this difficult time.”

In 2006, Clemson obtained a waiver for a fund for football player Ray Ray McElrathbey, who had custody of his younger brother. In 2014, the NCAA granted a waiver to Boise State so it could assist a homeless athlete.

And again last year, an NCAA waiver allowed a football player at Drake University to keep the proceeds from a crowd-funding site to close the gap between his academic scholarship and the full cost of tuition.

Those wishing to support the Singleton Memorial Fund can go to charlestonsouthern.edu or send a check to Charleston Southern University, Advancement Office, PO Box 118087, Charleston, SC 29423 with Singleton Memorial Fund in the memo line. Donations are tax-deductible, according to CSU.