Exposed: Reason why Courtney Dike refused Nigeria’s $7000 World Cup bonus

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News broke during the past week that Courtney Dike had refused to collect the $7000 bonus that accrued to her from being a member of the Nigeria Women U20 side that reached the final of the tournament in Canada.
courtney dike

Dike scored two goals for Nigeria, including the tournament’s fastest ever goal, as the Super Falcons finished in second place behind Germany at the 2014 Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup.

A presidential bonus offered to her was rejected according to a Nigeria Football Federation official.

“When we called her mother to confirm the delivery of the allowances, she declined it and insisted that the opportunity of playing for Nigeria was all the reward the family needed,” said Mohammed Sanusi, the NFF’s head of competitions.

The 19-year-old student of Oklahoma State University only did the right thing in the circumstances due to her status as an amateur athlete on a scholarship, according to rules governing the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) in the United States.

Among the rules for amateur athletes under the NCAA, Dike could not have accepted the $7000 given to her by Nigeria because amateurs are not supposed to be paid “salary for participating in athletics” neither are they allowed to be paid “prize MONEY above actual and necessary expenses” among many other rules on the NCAA website.

Hence, Dike’s decision, which has split opinion in the Nigerian community, was not, to spite the NFF and neither was it about her being more patriotic than other Nigerian players that accepted their bonuses.

According to sports management expert Patrick Omo-Osagie, if Dike had accepted the $7000 bonus, she would have had bigger issues like losing her almost $35,000 annual scholarship which enables her to attend the Oklahoma State University and play for the Cowgirls.

“The $7000 is considered as payment for her sport; the only way she could have taken that MONEY and not be in violation of NCAA regulations, is to have taken the MONEY as a daily allowance during the competition,” wrote Omo-Osagie on his Facebook page.

“NCAA rules are very funny and unfair, but the payment was so public that if she took it or her family took it, it will be a violation of NCAA rules and she will be sanctioned or might even loose her athletic scholarship.

“She did the right thing for rejecting the money and we should praise her for that, for she did not try to break the rules she signed on. If the money was refused for any other reason besides NCAA rules, then I need to know.”

This writer’s attempt to get a comment from Dike via Twitter for this article was not successful.

The only other way for Dike to accept the bonus would have been if she were to turn professional.

Professional athletes are not blocked from accepting bonuses and payments but there are few roles for professionalism in female football in America which could have denied Dike much more in scholarship fees on the long run.

Some commentators have already tried to juxtapose Dike’s decision with the Super Eagles’ bonus row at the World Cup, but it is evident that these two are different circumstances.

Dike did the right thing according to the rules of the NCAA and nothing more. If she were a pro-athlete, she would have taken the bonus because she rightly earned it.

If she continues to play as well as she is doing, there will be many more bonuses to benefit from after her collegiate days are over.

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