Half-court shot winner who missed out on $10K prize due to insurance rules finally paid in full

A Northern Iowa student thought he was getting $10,000. Then the rules got in the way. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

One Northern Iowa student thought he’d won $10,000 on Wednesday night. Then it was all taken away.

Dalton Hinsch was chosen to participate in a popular skills promotion during halftime of the men’s basketball team’s 71-63 win over Illinois State, per the Des Moines Register. He had to hit a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a half-court shot to win the prize money.

He did. At least so it seemed.

Hinsch completed the task in 27 seconds and beat the announcer’s countdown. There was no shot clock on the board and it’s unclear if a time constraint was in place.

But the crowd’s cheers turned to boos when officials called off the win. They said he didn’t get the shot off in time.

The athletics department tweeted early Thursday to clear up the issue as Hinsch racked up likes on Twitter.

The school said insurance rules stipulate it be done in 24 seconds, but the department’s sponsor, CB Seeds of Parkersburg, Iowa, wanted to give $2,000, a free trip to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament “Arch Madness” and free gear.

Hinsch is far from the only competitor to get caught in the insurance trap. In 2012, an East Tennessee State University student won a $20,000 prize. But the next day he read in the paper the insurance company, American Hole ‘n One, was reviewing it and later determined his foot was over the line. The prize sponsors and university combined to give him the same amount of winnings.

The Johnson City Press later reported the school no longer insured its contest through Hole ‘n One as the contract expired and therefore it was not insured. The AD apologized to the company.

Update (2/14):

After the backlash it received in recent days, Northern Iowa decided to pay Hinsch the full prize after all on Friday.

"Thank you to UNI and CB Seeds for the prize," Hinsch said in a UNI release, via the Des Moines Register. "I understood the rules prior to the contest, and am truly grateful for UNI and CB Seeds going above and beyond and awarding me the $10,000. I look forward to seeing the Panthers win it all in St Louis!"

Prizes such as half-court shots are typically underwritten by “prize indemnity insurance.” According to SCA Promotions, a Dallas insurance company interviewed by Leavitt Group, the odds of a random person making a half-court shot is 50 to 1. A 2011 feature by ESPN on the company stated it charges between 3 and 15 percent of the possible payout for the promotion.

And with tax season on the brain, keep in mind Hinsch won’t keep all of that cash (sorry to rain on your parade).

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