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Scholastic Roundup: This gift was a costly one

September 22, 2023 Andy Furman
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Rules have always been made to be broken – but when kids get hurt for such actions, well that’s inexcusable.

An Alabama high school football team was stripped of a win when their coach admitted to giving gift cards to his players, unknowingly violating the state’s high school athletic rules.

After Tuscaloosa County High School won their season opener against Central Tuscaloosa, 24-21, head coach Adam Winegareden recognized his team’s effort and gifted several players gift cads to a local Buffalo Wild Wings.

The players’ status changed from amateur to professional when they received the gifts, which goes against the Alabama High School Athletic Association rules. The AHSAA’s Amateur Rule states only amateurs are eligible to participate in league-sanctioned events.

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Two of the students who received the cards played in Tuscaloosa County’s 55-33 win over Bessemer City in violation of the Amateur Rule as they were non-amateurs competing in the high school game, forcing the school to forfeit their September 1st win.

Winegarden, who gave the cards away as a form of player recognition, never thought he was in violation because the gift cards which were marked “complimentary cards” could not be redeemed, The Tuscaloosa County School System said in a statement obtained by ABC.

“It should be understood that the NCAA’s NIL (Name Image Likeness) does not apply to current high school student-athletes,” the memo from the AHSAA to the school said. “Current high school student-athletes cannot earn money or accept money – cash, check, Venmo, Apple Pay, gift cards, etc. as a result of their connection to their high school team.

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A great start for Xaverian’s Fall sports – Freddy Scuteri had two touchdowns and rushed for 204 yards; Jude Vannoy tossed two touchdowns – one to Owen Conti and the other to Antonio Hernandez as the Clippers topped Kennedy Catholic, 44-7, Friday night.
Aiden Leary and Chris Duffy also scored. Defensive standouts were Timmy Hayes, Finbar McGuinness, Anthony Farina and Matt Ferris.

The jayvee football Clippers went on the road to St. John the Baptist to win, 22-6. The scoring started with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Giacomo Tarsaco to Tyler Buono with the extra point added by Evan Philipson.
As time expired in the half, Terrance Watson connected on a 33-yard touchdown pass to Peter Nocera putting the Clippers up 15-0 with a Buono two-point conversion run. The final touchdown was scored by freshman running back Richie Aiken on the ground, where he added 51 yards on four rushes.

The boys’ cross-country team took gold in Saturday’s season opener at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx. Senior Justin Schwartz was first to cross the finish line overall (14:18) followed by junior Shane Sullivan (14:55).
The Clippers are back at VCP Saturday morning to race in the Regis Invitational.

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Howard Kellman, the Sheepshead Bay High grad who has called play-by-play for baseball’s Indianapolis Indians over 50 years, reminds Johnny Franco turned 63 Sunday (Sept. 17th).
The Lafayette High School grad established himself as an All-Star player with the Cincinnati Reds before spending the majority of his career with the New York Mets. He ended his 22-year career with one final season with the Houston Astros.

Franco’s 1,119 career games pitched is a National League record, and ranks fourth in major league history. His 424 saves rank fifth all-time in major league history – ranking second when he retired – and remains the most by a left-hander. For 15 of his 22 seasons, he played for the Mets, serving as team captain in his final years with the team. Franco was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2012.
In 2008 he was inducted into the Staten Island Hall of Fame and he was also inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame the same year.

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The Kingsborough Community College Lady Wave basketball team have been picked to finish fifth in the just concluded CUNY’s Pre-Season poll. The Lady Wave kick-off their season at home, Thursday, November 7th when they host conference rival Hostos – the team picked to win the league.

Junior Ava Hunwick scored a pair of goals and handed out five assists – both career highs – and Siena Sujitno matched her career-high of four goals and also assisted on another as the Pratt Institute women’s soccer team topped Keystone College, 9-0 on the road for their first win of the season, last week.

Olivia Julich, a junior middle hitter for Pratt Institute’s women’s volleyball team has been named the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference women’s volleyball Defensive Player of the Week for the second week of the 2023 season. For the week, Julich slammed 21 kills and hit .405. The Cannonneers started their season with two consecutive wins over Saint Elizabeth and Old Westbury.

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The St. Joseph’s University, Brooklyn women’s soccer team and Brooklyn College played to a 1-1 draw Saturday in Flatbush. Katherine Barrios provided Ashley Pintado with a perfectly-placed through ball to score her first goal of the season for the Bears.

St. Joseph’s resumes Skyline Conference play, Sunday, September 24th against Farmingdale State College with a noon kickoff.

Two Brooklyn women placed one-two for St. Joseph’s University’s cross-country team at last week’s Stockton University Osprey Open – the Bears’ second meet of the season.

Defending Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week Jennifer Sarji (Fontbonne Hall Academy) led the Bears for the second consecutive meet, clocking at a time of 30:08. Brooklyn’s Danielle Bourne (Christ the King) followed Sarji in 33:52. The team finished in 14th place on the 6K course.

Sarji made her collegiate debut in the LIU Fall Festival and completed the 5K course with a time of 29:57; the first Bear to cross the finish.

Evan Sirakis crossed the finish line of the men’s 8K course in 36:27. The men return to action Sunday (September 24th) when they participate in the Knight Invite hosted by fellow Skyline school Mount Saint Mary College.

James Madison High School grad Rachel Meltsin with a pair of service aces helped the St. Joseph’s University women’s volleyball team to their first win of the season, Friday defeating Lehman College. Four of Meltsin’s five aces came in the second set. She also dished out 20 assists. Teammate Carol Melo (St. Edmund Prep) had a team-leading 13 digs.

Christian Chimborazo earned his first career Skyline Conference Defensive Player of the Week honor for the St. Joseph’s (Brooklyn) University men’s soccer team. A defender turned goalkeeper he made his first appearance in goal last week against Rutgers University-Newark. The sophomore recorded 16 saves — the most by a Bear in a single match since current assistant coach Alejandro Oliveros stopped 10 shots against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2019.

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Freshman back, Abigail Joseph, at 5-6 from Edward R. Murrow High School, scored the first two goals of her collegiate career as Brooklyn College picked up their first win of the season, shutting out the University of Valley Forge, 3-0 last week. Brooklyn’s junior goalkeeper, Angelina Vasta earned Weekly Honorable Mention for her efforts last week. She gathered 20 saves in two matches last week. She’s a grad of Leon M. Goldstein High School.

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In his first collegiate start, freshman quarterback Chris Howell ran for a 10-yard touchdown, but the Sharks of LIU fell to Baylor University, 30-7 Saturday in Waco, Texas.

Howell started in place of injured incumbent quarterback Luca Stanzani. Howell completed four of 10 passes for 41 yards and also ran eight times, including for the touchdown. Antwan Spencer had a team-leading 10 tackles (seven solo). Leisaan Hibbert added nine tackles (seven solo).

The Sharks enter conference play at home, Sept. 30th at noon against Duquesne.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR.

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