AHSAA rescinds sanctions against Tuscaloosa Co. High School football team, clarifies Amateur Rule now excludes ‘food establishment’ gift cards
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WBRC) - Officials with the Alabama High School Athletic Association met Tuesday and have rescinded all sanctions against the Tuscaloosa County High School football team after saying the Amateur Rule was broken when some student-athletes were given gift cards to a food establishment.
The sanctions were rescinded after the AHSAA Central Board of Control met Tuesday and approved a clarification for the Amateur Rule about gift cards to food establishments.
“I want to thank the Central Board for clarifying the AHSAA Amateur Rule concerning the receipt of food related gift cards by student-athletes,” said AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs. “This clarification clears up any confusion our schools might have relating to gift cards and the Amateur Rule moving forward.”
The Tuscaloosa County School System released the following statement after the decision: “We thank the AHSAA Central Board for this clarification of the Amateur Rule. We are also appreciative that the sanction against TCHS has been rescinded and the TCHS win on September 2 will stand.”
This clarification comes after the Tuscaloosa County High School football team forfeited a game after some players were given gift cards to Buffalo Wild Wings.
The AHSAA originally said the school broke the Amateur Rule, which said a student is ineligible if he/she received money as a prize or has sold a prize received in a contest.
The clarification added reads as follows:
- “Gift cards from food establishments are excluded from this rule.”
- “Gift cards from any entity other than a food establishment if returned unused are excluded from this rule.”
The folks at AHSAA sent us the full text of the Amateur Rule, which you can read below:
SECTION 8. AMATEUR RULE. Only amateurs are eligible. An amateur is one who does not use his/her knowledge of athletics or athletic skill for gain. Amateur standing shall be further determined by the following standards:
(a) A student is ineligible if he/she has received money as a prize, or has sold a prize received in a contest, or has bet on a contest in which he/she is a participant.
(b) Professionalism is defined as accepting remuneration, directly or indirectly, for playing on athletic teams and in sports activities or for playing under an assumed name.
(c) A student who accepts material or financial inducement from any source is ineligible.
(d) No student shall receive more than actual expenses involved in travel to and from a contest or camp and necessary meals and lodging in the meantime. A student shall not at any time receive any portion of a livelihood for participation in athletics, other than actual expenses for any specific game or camp.
1. A student cannot accept payment for loss of time or wages while participating in athletics as part of expenses.
2. Reasonable meals, lodging and transportation may be accepted if such are accepted in service rather than money or some material form.
3. Students playing on a non-home team which requires boarding away from home by the week, etc., will be looked upon as violating the professional rule if board is not paid by his family.
4. A team which plans to divide among its members any surplus either during or at close of season shall be considered a professional team.
(e) No award of any kind having a monetary value of more than 250 dollars—other than medals, trophies, plaques or AHSAA championship rings—shall be made to students. Violation of this rule on the part of school officials shall subject the school to suspension for one year. Acceptance of awards exceeding these limitations shall disqualify a student. Cash awards or gift cards for athletic performances or participation may not be given or received.
Note: Gift cards from food establishments are excluded from this rule.
Note: Gift cards from any entity other than a food establishment if returned unused are excluded from this rule.
(f) A student who has lost his/her amateur standing may be reinstated after the lapse of one high school season, or until reinstated by the Central Board of Control, for the sport in which he/she has become professional provided he/she has not persisted in breaking the amateur rule.
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