OKLAHOMA CITY – Football players are taught at a young age what plays they can run out of the shotgun or pistol formations. Now a youth football league in Oklahoma is making waves for raffling off tickets saying the winner would get a handgun.
Bixby Youth Football president Jason Clark said the tickets should have been more clear: The winner got a gift certificate to a gun store, but did not have to buy a gun. Although Clark said the winner did end up buying a gun after passing a background check, the person could have purchased other items at the store like clothes, a gun safe or a gun case.
"There should have been a disclaimer put on it. We have found a mistake on there. But at the end of the day everybody knew, if you win a gift card, you don't have to get a gun," Clark said.
Clark said he's surprised by the media attention the suburban Tulsa league has received over the raffle. He said the league raffled off a hunting rifle two years ago. And he said youth coaches do a lot of good that shouldn't be ignored.
Clark said once the organization's board realized the tickets listed a gun as the prize on the raffle tickets, they contacted authorities and attorneys to make sure there were no liability issues. The board decided to let the raffle continue as planned.
The Bixby Youth Football program has about 380 players, ranging from first to seventh grade.
Dan Rice, the fourth-grade coach who held the raffle for his team, did not respond to an email for comment. A message left at a listing for a Dan Rice in Bixby also was not immediately returned. Rice told the Tulsa World that he did not receive any complaints from parents.
"If I could go back and redo it, I probably would have had our team moms make sure that we had a better disclaimer on it," he told the newspaper.
Clark said he received a handful of phone calls about the raffle tickets and each time, a parent was with the child selling the ticket.
Clark said the club does not restrict how coaches and parents raise money for their teams, but it does have guidelines that say children can't go door to door without parents and that team parents must approve of the fundraiser, among other things.
More than 900 people bought a ticket for the raffle, which raised more than $3,000 for the fourth-grade team, the Tulsa World reported.
The athletic director at Bixby Public Schools said the club is not affiliated with the school district and she had no comment.
Other youth organizations and schools have also raffled off guns in fundraising events. A North Carolina elementary school recently drew attention after it said it was raffling off a rifle at a school fundraiser. A hockey league in North Dakota raffled off 200 guns earlier this year as part of a fundraising effort.
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