Alabama HS loses victory after giving gift cards to players

A high school in Alabama, Tuscaloosa County, forfeited a win because some of its standout players received gift cards for the Buffalo Wild Wings in a game against Central Tuscaloosa. reported the message after the players were dealt and then played in Tuscaloosa County’s 55-33 victory over Bessemer City.

“We got a call from the (Alabama High School Athletic Association) that we awarded some athletes some tickets to eat at the Buffalo Wild Wings,” coach Adam Winegarden said. “Since they received these gift cards, it has broken their status as amateur athletes.”

Tuscaloosa County Schools Athletics Coordinator Stacy Lawler said the school has accepted responsibility.

“We reached out last week because we partnered with Buffalo Wild Wings for our Player of the Week and they gave players free tickets.” Lawler said. “…As soon as we knew we had no idea we weren’t going to make it, we turned ourselves in.”

The actual gift cards were not used and were in violation of government regulations. The NCAA’s NIL rules do not apply to high school athletes in Alabama, the AHSAA’s executive director said in a memo.

“It should be clear that the NCAA’s NIL does NOT apply to current high school athletes,” the memo states. “Current high school athletes CANNOT earn money or accept money (cash, checks, Venmo, Apple Pay, gift cards, checks, etc.) based on their connection to their high school team.

“It is the school’s responsibility to educate students and parents about the AHSAA Amateur Rule and the penalties if a student violates the rule.”

Part of the Alabama Eligibility Detailed Rules:

SECTION 8. AMATEUR RULE. Only amateurs are eligible to participate. An amateur is someone who does not use his/her knowledge of athletics or athletic ability for profit. Amateur placement is further determined by the following standards:

Chris Estrada

Chris Estrada is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Chris Estrada joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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