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Both contestants awarded tuition scholarship after Big 12 halftime challenge ends in controversy

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The Texas Longhorns kept their hopes of making it to the College Football Playoff alive on Saturday by dominating Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship game. However, the ultimate competition took place when the Longhorns and the Cowboys were in their respective locker rooms.

At halftime, two college students took the field for the annual Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway challenge. Whichever contestant could get the most football inside a Dr Pepper-branded bin within a certain amount of time, would walk away with a $100,000 tuition scholarship.

At the end of regulation, Ryan Georgian, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Gavin White, an Ohio State University student, had each put ten points on the board. The tie meant that an overtime period would be needed in order to determine a grand prize winner.

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The Texas Longhorns players celebrate winning the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship after the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma State Cowboys on December 2, 2023. (Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Georgian made a shot in the final seconds of the overtime period, forcing a sudden-death round. Georgian came out on top in the shootout period, but some fans cried foul.

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A video review revealed that Georgian was given six points in the first period, one more point that he actually should have been given credit for. The extra point was enough to force overtime.

Dr Pepper later acknowledged that a “technical error” happened during the contest and announced that both students would be awarded $100,000.

“In a dramatic double OT Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway during the Big 12 Conference championship game, an on-field technical error resulted in an inaccurate accounting of the double tie break,” the company said in a statement.

“As such, Dr Pepper will recognize both finalists as grand prize winners with both receiving the 100k award in tuition,” the statement continued.

Texas Longhorns players celebrate

The Texas Longhorns Celebrate after defeating the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 2, 2023 in Arlington, Texas.  (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

 Some observers took to social media as the tuition challenged played out.

Some even took credit for bringing attention to the discrepancy.

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“Jokes aside I think our tweets forced Dr. Pepper’s hand here. Thanks to all who contributed and got the word out,” one post on X, the company formerly known as Twitter, said.



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