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Ray Ray petitioned the court and gained temporary custody of Fahmarr. Now, instead of sleeping in like some college students, Ray Ray starts his day at 6:30 a.m. Every morning he gets Fahmarr dressed and off to school before heading to class. In the afternoon, Fahmarr does homework while Ray Ray goes to football practice.

"The hard part of being a parent, I guess, is being a parent," Ray Ray says. "You're not the priority anymore."

Ray Ray's hard work hasn't gone unnoticed. "Now I really, really get the feeling of how it feels to have a dad that really cares and a dad that will always be around," Fahmarr says.

At first, Ray Ray says he washed cars, mowed lawns and used his scholarship money to support himself and his brother. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has a rule that prohibits athletes from receiving "gifts, cash or other benefits not provided to the general student population," so the two brothers were on their own.

In September 2006, Clemson University officials petitioned the NCAA on Ray Ray's behalf and the organization agreed to waive the rule. Since then, the university has set up the Fahmarr McElrathbey Trust Fund at a local bank. The fund is set up to help with Fahmarr's expenses, so Ray Ray can focus on school. "I was so surprised [by the outpouring]," Ray Ray says. "I have to write thank you letters!"
FROM: Childhood Interrupted
Published on October 20, 2006


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