BATON ROUGE, La. (WIS) – Being a New Orleans native, Leonard Fournette is all too familiar with tragedy hitting close to home.
Fournette was just a young boy when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans back in 2005. Fast forward 10 years later, Fournette has seen tragedy strike again. Only this time, it hit South Carolina as cities throughout the Palmetto State were damaged by floodwater.
LSU opted to be gracious hosts for the University of South Carolina during their game Saturday. Their band played the Gamecocks’ fight song and alma mater. Sandstorm blared through the speakers before kickoff. The Tigers even wore their road uniforms at their home stadium. The Tigers did just about everything possible to make USC feel right at home.
But Fournette wanted to do something. And he shared his idea with the world following the Tigers’ 45-24 win over the Gamecocks.
“I want to send my prayers, condolences and empathy to the people of South Carolina,” said Fournette. “What they are going through reminds me of what we went through, my people of New Orleans went through, 10 years ago with Hurricane Katrina. We played the game today, but the people of South Carolina right now are in need. I would like to auction off my game jersey, as is, to the highest bidder to help with the relief efforts. People of Louisiana not only care, but know firsthand what you in South Carolina are going through.”
The gesture proved to be well-received by many across social media. However, the move wasn’t one that the NCAA initially approved.
LF on jersey-gate: "They’re not going to let me do it. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to help out the families over there." #LSU
— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) October 11, 2015
According to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate, Fournette said the NCAA would not let him auction the game-worn jersey. But after further discussion by the college sports sanctioning body, the ruling on the field was reversed.
“Leonard Fournette can auction his jersey for SC flood victims,” the NCAA tweeted.
Details on when or where the auction will take place have not been released.