Nobody knew why Virginia Tech linebacker Alan Tisdale was suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season, at least publicly, until now. He recently shared why and it stems from something that would have been completely legal if he was not a student-athlete.
Tisdale was betting on sports. Specifically, the NBA Finals.
In a conversation with The Athletic, Tisdale revealed that he misunderstood NCAA rules. He even self-reported his own violation in hopes to limit his punishment. It didn’t matter.
Tisdale, a redshirt senior, was a late-round NFL Draft prospect entering the season. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder chose to return to Blacksburg for one final year of eligibility instead of going pro and was poised to play a big role for the Hokies.
However, when the defense took the field in Week 1, Tisdale was not with them. And that trend continued for five additional weeks. Rumors swirled around the reason for his suspension but nobody knew exactly what happened.
Earlier this week, the reason was revealed.
Virginia Tech linebacker Alan Tisdale was suspended for gambling.
Over the course of the NBA Finals between the Suns and Bucks, Tisdale placed about 100 wagers that totaled about $400. The bets were placed legally through FanDuel in Virginia, none of the bets were more than $5, and they won him a whopping total of $41.
Tisdale did not think he was doing anything wrong. He was under the impression that it was illegal (per NCAA rules) to gamble on the sport he plays— college football. Instead, as outlined on its website, the NCAA prohibits its athletes from wagering of any kind on any sport.
Eventually, Tisdale came to that realization during a team meeting before the season.
To get ahead of any potential issues, he chose to self-report his violations to the Virginia Tech athletic department and donated the $41 in winnings to charity. As a result, there was hope that Tisdale’s suspension would only last a few games.
Instead, he was hit with a nine-game suspension. It was later reduced to six after an appeal.
The athletic department was not happy with the decision.
“We try and do things right,” Hokies head coach Brent Pry told The Athletic. “And even though the kid was wrong, he didn’t know he was wrong. And as soon as he realized he might be, he came forward. I just don’t think there was enough consideration given for how things shook out.”
If Alan Tisdale was not an athlete, it would not have been a problem.
Ultimately, the decision was final. Tisdale missed the first six games of the 2022 college football season because he bet $400 on a sport that he does not play and won $41.
If he was not a student-athlete, his wagers would not have been an issue. They would have been legal.
Instead, Tisdale had to watch Virginia Tech lose four of its first six games. Obviously, it is unclear if his presence on the field would have changed the outcome.
But with that being said, Tisdale has recorded 28 tackles and a sack in the last three games since his return. He is an important piece of the Hokies defense and the team was without him through six weeks because of bets that he placed on the NBA Finals.
Perhaps it is time for the NCAA to update its legislature?