Brotherly love NCAA grants McElrathbey waiver to care for sibling Posted: Monday September 11, 2006 11:50PM; Updated: Tuesday September 12, 2006 12:19AM CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Clemson staff will be able to provide assistance to a freshman football player who is taking care of his little brother, the school said Monday. Ray Ray McElrathbey, 19, has temporary custody of his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr, because of his mother's continuing drug problems and his father's gambling addiction. The two brothers have moved from foster homes to sharing an apartment by the campus. I want to thank the Clemson family for all their support in this situation. That includes my teammates and the Clemson student body," McElrathbey said after practice Monday. "I can't tell you how many students came up to me and said they were willing to help." The school had asked the NCAA for a waiver of its rule prohibiting athletes from obtaining gifts, cash or other benefits not available to the general student population. "Once the NCAA became aware of the circumstances, we immediately began working with the Atlantic Coast Conference and Clemson University to address this unique situation," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of membership services. "NCAA extra benefit rules are designed to ensure student athletes do not receive financial or other benefits that are not readily available to all students. "If there is a special circumstance, like this case, the institution and conference may seek a waiver." McElrathbey will be allowed to receive assistance, such as local transportation and child care for Fahmarr. "That will be great for my brother and relieve me of some worries about providing for him," McElrathbey said. The most important thing for McElrathbey has been finding people who can pick his brother up from school and getting "some help from grown-ups looking after Fahmarr," Clemson athletic department spokesman Tim Bourret said. For this past weekend's game at Boston College, some of McElrathbey's friends at school stayed with Fahmarr back in South Carolina. Now, that task more likely will be taken over by the wives of assistant coaches, Bourret said. "I might be more excited about the ability of the Clemson athletic department staff being able to give Fahmarr a ride to and from school, and to be able to take care of him when I am on the road with the team. That will solve a lot of problems. That was a constant worry," McElrathbey said. The two brothers had been living solely off McElrathbey's scholarship, but Clemson plans to establish a trust fund to coordinate financial contributions to help pay for normal living expenses, Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips said in a news release. Bourret said details of how the trust will be set up and how it will collect money have not been finalized, but he said the university is prohibited from coordinating a fundraiser with a football game. McElrathbey has said he sought custody because he was tired of worrying what might happen to Fahmarr living with their mother in Atlanta. "I wasn't going to let him go back to a foster home, back to the system," McElrathbey said.