NCAA grants Houston officials special waiver to donate items to Hurricane Harvey victims

The NCAA has granted University of Houston officials a special waiver to begin distributing donated T-shirts and shoes to people affected by Hurricane Harvey, including high school student-athletes.

Cougars athletic director Hunter Yurachek told ESPN that NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs Oliver Luck sent him a text message Saturday morning to notify him that the waiver had been granted.

"The NCAA was very quick in getting us this waiver," Yurachek said. "There's a rule in place that makes sense, other than when you have 100,000 T-shirts coming in for hurricane victims. The NCAA has granted us a waiver, and it's full steam ahead."

Cougars men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson started the campaign on Twitter more than a week ago, asking coaches around the country to donate their excess T-shirts and sneakers to help hurricane victims in Texas.

Yurachek estimated that Houston officials have received more than 100,000 T-shirts and tens of thousands of pairs of shoes. He said the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays sent boxes of donations to Houston this week, in addition to those from pro teams, colleges and high schools in all 50 states.

"We've been floored," Yurachek said. "It's been overwhelming. Coach Sampson is in there every day unloading boxes of shoes and folding T-shirts. We're probably getting 200 to 300 boxes of shoes and T-shirts every day."

The Cougars will start distributing the items next week.

"Somewhere along the line, this rule makes sense," Yurachek said. "But nobody thought to put in an exception like a natural disaster. The NCAA gets a bad rap, but the NCAA just enforces the rule that the membership introduces and votes on."