Young bracketologist receives $20,000 scholarship

  • Sam Holtz, 12, of Hawthorn Woods hands Ryan Blackburn of Make-A-Wish Illinois an Xbox One on Thursday at the Best Buy in Deer Park Thursday. Sam received two game consoles from Best Buy after he completed an nearly perfect NCAA bracket in a contest but was disqualified because he was underage. Now he's been awarded a $20,000 scholarship by a weight loss company called ViSalus.

      Sam Holtz, 12, of Hawthorn Woods hands Ryan Blackburn of Make-A-Wish Illinois an Xbox One on Thursday at the Best Buy in Deer Park Thursday. Sam received two game consoles from Best Buy after he completed an nearly perfect NCAA bracket in a contest but was disqualified because he was underage. Now he's been awarded a $20,000 scholarship by a weight loss company called ViSalus. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/12/2015 9:37 PM

The 12-year-old from Hawthorn Woods who had one of the two best entries in ESPN's college basketball bracket challenge but couldn't win a $20,000 prize because he was too young to enter ended up receiving that much money anyway from a different source.

Sam Holtz was given a $20,000 college scholarship by a weight loss company called ViSalus.

 

The sixth-grader finished tied for first place in the ESPN contest, which was connected to the results of the college basketball championship series.

The grand prize was a trip for two to Hawaii or a $20,000 Best Buy gift card.

But ESPN's rules said participants had to be at least 18 years old.

Sam and his parents, Butch and Liz, thanked the weight loss company in a video posted to their YouTube channel.

"My parents always taught me that if you do right, good things will happen," Sam said.

According to the video, company co-founder Ryan Blair heard Sam's story and wanted to reward him for his achievement.

This is the second time a company other than ESPN has rewarded Sam for his excellent March Madness bracket.

Last week, Best Buy offered Sam a $1,000 shopping spree. Sam instead asked for two Xbox One video-game consoles and gave one to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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