JCPS says payment for former UofL player's autograph violates policy

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WHAS11.com

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 29 at 6:22 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- University of Louisville basketball standout Gorgui Dieng has abruptly canceled his appearances in several Jefferson County Public School’s after questions were raised last week during one of his autograph signing sessions.

Dieng was giving motivational speeches and at the end of the speech students could get autographed posters or basketballs for a fee.  That fee is what caught the attention of the administrators in the central office.  They now say charging students for something like that goes against their board policy.

The organizers of the speeches were told Dieng can come and speak to kids, but cannot charge for autographs because those autographics do not have educational purpose.

Several school visits were scheduled for this week, but the district has now gotten word Dieng won't be coming.

“We contacted the people who are in charge of bringing the athletes to the schools and notified them that we'd be happy to participate in the event in the motivational portion of the event where the athlete is actually speaking with the students, but that we could not participate in the autograph portion and the paying for autograph.  Once we conveyed that to the organizers, we were told that the events would be canceled,” said Ben Jackey with JCPS.

In an interview with WHAS11 last week at an appearance at Coleridge Taylor Elementary School, Dieng said, “I am not a person who is just being selfish.  That is not what I have been told.  I do whatever to help. I think hopefully they are going to learn from this and make their life a lot better.”

People close to Dieng said he is exhausted from all the events following the national championship and they say he is now focusing on his workouts to get ready for the NBA draft.

Former University of Kentucky basketball player Jeff Sheppard has been the point person for JCPS.  WHAS11 is told that he has been setting up these visits in schools across the state for both former UofL and UK athletes.

WHAS11 tried to reach him today for a comment but were not able to get a hold of him.
 

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