Step show prize to be shared after Internet stir

Step show prize to be shared after Internet stir

Published February 26, 2010

ATLANTA – After days of controversy over a white group's win in a step competition, sponsor Coca-Cola said Thursday the second-place team will share top honors.

Coca-Cola said in a statement that a review of the scoring from Saturday's national contest revealed a "scoring discrepancy" that it declined to explain. This is the first year of the Sprite Step Off, but step contests are typically dominated by black sororities and fraternities.

Step is a historically black art form of rhythmic stepping and clapping. A YouTube video of the winning performance by a group of Zeta Tau Alphas from the University of Arkansas generated hundreds of comments, some of them inflammatory.

Coca-Cola said Thursday the Alpha Kappa Alpha team from Indiana University, whose members are black, would share first place and would also receive the same $100,000 in scholarships that the Zeta Tau Alphas won.

"Because the scoring discrepancy cannot be resolved and due to the extremely narrow margin between the first and second place winning sororities," the company decided to declare co-winners, the company statement says.

The national offices of both sororities said they were proud of their members and declined to comment on the Internet controversy.

The Sprite Step Off was created to award scholarships, Coca-Cola said. The tournament began in September with a series of regional qualifying rounds around the country. Six sororities competed in the national final in Atlanta Saturday. Six fraternities also competed among themselves.

Written by KATE BRUMBACK and DIONNE WALKER, Associated Press Writers

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