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Thursday, June 26
 
Prizes prevent players from participating

Associated Press

SPOKANE -- NCAA officials have blown the whistle on Division I athletes who want to play in this weekend's Hoopfest 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

The NCAA told Hoopfest executive director Rick Steltenpohl that because the event gives away clothing as a prize, it cannot be sanctioned, and college scholarship athletes cannot participate.

The decision affects seven Division I players who were registered for Hoopfest, which bills itself as the largest 3-on-3 tournament in the world.

Steltenpohl received a voice message from the NCAA Wednesday telling him about the rules. He was later told that Division III athletes would be eligible to play and that Division II athletes would most likely be OK to play as well.

"It's not a new rule. They're just going to start enforcing it," Steltenpohl said. "You cannot give apparel as awards, period."

Hoopfest, which is played on courts set up all over the streets of downtown Spokane on Saturday and Sunday, gives t-shirts to winning teams.