The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Tuesday disputed a report that claimed the organization nixed fundraising efforts for Tennessee State University linebacker Christion Abercrombie, who collapsed on the sideline of a game against Vanderbilt on Saturday.
“The NCAA did not request that Tennessee State remove any specific GoFundMe accounts, nor was Christion Abercrombie’s eligibility ever at risk,” the association tweeted. “Our only focus is supporting Christion Abercrombie and Tennessee State.”
The organization added: “The NCAA pays the full premium for the catastrophic injury insurance program, which covers student-athletes who are catastrophically injured while participating in their respective sport.”
It was reported by the Tennessean on Monday that two GoFundMe pages created for Abercrombie were taken down at the request of the school, because they were potentially violating NCAA rules. The organization reportedly said Abercrombie’s eligibility might be put at risk.
The university on Monday started its own online fundraiser for Abercrombie and his family, which raised over $26,000 of its $250,000 goal as of Tuesday night. His medical expenses will be covered by the NCAA, according to their statement released on Twitter.
Abercrombie “suffered a life-threatening injury” during the second quarter of the game. He collapsed on the sideline after reportedly complaining about a headache, and was rushed to Vanderbilt Medical Center for emergency surgery. The Tigers player remains hospitalized in critical condition, the school wrote online.
The hit that left Abercrombie injured “was just a football play,” head coach Rod Reed reportedly said Sunday. “He was taking on a block and it wasn’t anything malicious or dirty or anything like that. Just an unfortunate situation.”
Abercrombie had come into Saturday’s game as the Tigers’ second-leading tackler and was credited with five tackles and a quarterback hurry before being injured. The Tigers went on to lose 31-27 to Vanderbilt.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.