ALLEN — High school football players know when they win a state championship, they have a chance to get a commemorative ring.
When the Allen Eagles won their second straight title in December, little did the athletes know they would have to share that privilege with the entire student body.
“It’s an opportunity to offer a ring to the groups that were a part of it — the band, the drill team, the cheerleaders, the Screaming Eagles and the Blue Crew,” Allen athletic director Steve Williams explained.
We wanted to discuss the ring controversy with some of the players but were told we couldn't talk to them on campus.
The school makes no profit from the sale of the personalized $299 rings, and the school also doesn't buy any championship jewelry for the players.
We did find a couple of players who tweeted about the rings.
"I don't even want a state ring anymore, wrote one. "I'll keep my memories."
Another wrote: "It's the school's idea to get more money."
TexasHSFootball.com even chimed in with a tweet, saying: "It's idiotic. Those rings are earned, not given."
Part of the confusion might have started with the order form, where the ring being offered to the student body looks similar to the one for the team.
In reality, the rings the students can buy are a lot smaller. Balfour has not finalized the design, but says they're about one-third the size of the rings that will only be available to the players and coaches.
The students we talked to like the idea.
I think that's pretty cool,” said Jacob Gillis. “I guess it makes it feel like we're all a family.”
“My friend plays for the Allen Eagles. His ring is really big, and it's going to be really nice,” said Cavelius Pugh.
“We don't think in any way that it takes away from the accomplishment of the football team or the right they're getting as far as the players and coaches,” Athletic Director Williams added.
In professional sports, the entire support staff and cheerleaders usually get a ring or pendant.
Last year, students at Allen High had the same option to buy a commemorative ring, and about 75 took advantage of the opportunity.