AHSAA clarifies amateur rule

Published 3:28 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

An Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) rule limiting rewards to student-athletes was clarified Sept. 20, when the group’s central board met concerning food-related gift cards.

The AHSAA Amateur, which had impacted game play for and standings for teams and athletes sanctioned under the rule, was revised by the board who unanimously approved clarification concerning food-related gift cards presented to AHSAA student-athletes and rescinded sanctions asses to schools penalized for violations of the rule concerning such gift cards.

Earlier this season, Brantley School self-reported two players who violated the rule’s earlier wording. Those players sat out for one game while the association ruled on their conduct. They were reinstated, and the violation did not impact the school’s record.

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According to Crenshaw County Superintendent Dodd Hawthorne, because the school was not sanctioned when players violated the rule’s earlier regulations, the current ruling does not impact the Bulldog’s current season record.

“We’re not having any impact because we did not have to forfeit any contest,” Hawthorne said. “If the players had played and the team won, they woul have had to forfeit a win and that would have been rescinded. But since Brantley won the game, there’s nothing retroactive.

“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 in a release. “This clarification clears up any confusion our schools might have relating to gift cards and the Amateur Rule moving forward.”

The clarification amended the Amateur Rule By-Law, which is listed in the 2023-24 AHSAA Handbook online, beginning on page 30. This additions to Section 8: Amateur Rule (e) are as follows:

“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.”