No Pizza Hut Invitational winnings for Helen Terry and PJ Hairston

PIZZA HUT INVTATIONAL HALFTIME SHOOTOUT WINNERS CANNOT ACCEPT PRIZES;

Shootout Rules will Change Next Year

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Some Pizza Hut Invitational halftime shootout winners are unable to accept their prizes due to North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) rules, it was announced today.

The Pizza Hut Invitational offers a halftime shootout during the first 22 games of the 24-game high school basketball tournament. One winner from each game advances to the semifinal round which is conducted during halftime of the women’s championship game. The top-four semifinal finishers advance to the final round at halftime of the men’s championship game. Each competitor pays $1 per shot in the first 22 halftime competitions; there is no charge to shoot during the semifinals and finals.

Winners receive $1,000 in gift cards donated by The Shops at Friendly Center. First place wins a $500 gift card, second wins $300 while third and fourth each win $100. Proceeds from the halftime shootout program are contributed to the tournament’s participating schools.

Helen Terry, a women’s varsity basketball player at Dudley High School won the shootout; P.J. Hairston, a men’s varsity basketball player at Dudley, finished second. Wavey Boyd, another Dudley High School student, finished third. When the shootout ended Saturday night, tournament organizers held the winnings of the top-three competitors until NCHSAA rules could be confirmed. Fourth-place finisher Carter Stanley, a student at Mendenhall Elementary School, was awarded his $100 gift card.

The Greensboro Sports Council contacted Dudley High School director of athletics Joe Godette to confirm that the winners were Dudley student athletes. Terry and Hairston were confirmed as varsity basketball players, but Boyd does not play on the basketball team.

The Greensboro Sports Council then contacted the NCHSAA to find out if the student athletes were able to accept the prizes. Que Tucker, NCHSAA deputy executive director, said that pursuant to the “Amateur Rule,” student athletes cannot accept monetary prizes. Because the two winners used their athletic talents to benefit, potentially monetarily, accepting the prizes would be a violation of NCHSAA rules. The “amateur rule” is item No. 11, found on page No. 115 of the NCHSAA handbook. Had the competition been complete chance with no specific athletic skills required, or if the prizes had not been monetary, the student athletes would have been able to accept their prizes.

Therefore, Terry and Hairston cannot accept the Friendly Center gift cards, but third-place finisher Boyd can. So Boyd and fourth-place finisher Stanley will each receive $500 in gift cards. Since Stanley received his $100 gift card Saturday night, he will receive an additional $400.

“This situation has never happened before in our tournament,” Greensboro Sports Council president Brett Schulman said. “As the shootout was ending, we were trying to find out if it was acceptable for the winners to accept the prizes, and when we could not find out, we decided to hold the winnings until we could check NCHSAA rules. It’s a good thing we did; the last thing we want is for a student athlete to get into trouble with the NCHSAA for winning a Pizza Hut Invitational contest.

“Next year, the halftime shootout will have different rules. Participants who are members of a high school or college basketball team and other amateur athletes will not be allowed to participate in order to prevent a situation like this from happening again.”

The 33rd annual Pizza Hut Invitational concluded Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center. Ragsdale High School won the women’s tournament; Greensboro Day School captured its fourth consecutive men’s championship. All tournament proceeds are donated to the participating schools each year.

*****from Rob Goodman 3G Sports*****