Sam Holtz is not eligible for the $20,000 prize.


Sam Holtz had a near-perfect bracket for the NCAA men's basketball contest, and he tied for the best bracket in ESPN's annual contest out of 11.5 million participants - not bad for a 12-year-old.

The only problem? Holtz will not be permitted to enter ESPN's random drawing for contest participants for $20,000 or a trip to Maui because of his age - only participants 18 and over are allowed to enter. That means the sixth grader from Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, won't be able to collect a prize in spite of his incredible foresight, reports the Daily Herald.

ESPN spokesperson Kevin Ota claimed winning the contest was a prize in and of itself: "The great thing is that this kid beat all these experts out there," Ota told the Herald. "He beat all of our commentators, all these celebrities, all the college experts. That's what makes this so awesome. The prize really is secondary."

Holtz wouldn't necessarily agree - he told the Herald he was "irritated" that he was ineligible for the prize, though he conceded that he was still proud of himself.


What was Holtz's secret to a winning bracket? Studying, and a little blind luck, apparently.

"There is no secret," said Holtz. "There was some luck, and I studied I just picked the teams that I felt had the best players."

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