File this one under "lack of common sense." Two youth football teams in Florida - and their cheerleading squads - have been banned from their conference championship game for a reason that will only make you shake your head.
An assistant coach of the youth team held a barbecue for the team at his home. According to The Tampa Tribune, at some point during the barbecue, seven of the team's 34 cheerleaders performed their cheer routines. Video of the impromptu performance made it onto Facebook, where officials of the Tri-County Youth Football and Cheerleading Conference saw it.
Here's where the head-scratching begins. Because the cheerleaders performed their routine to music and were wearing their uniforms, conference officials say it violates a rule about how often players can practice. Extra practice time gives teams - and their cheerleading squads - a competitive advantage, they say.
As a result, the Brandon Bears football teams and their cheerleaders are no longer eligible to compete in the championship game. From The Tampa Tribune:
In all, about 300 children between 9 and 12 were disqualified from taking part in the championship game, dubbed the conference super bowl, on Nov. 23, said Brian Jones, athletic director for the team and cheerleading squads. There are two Brandon Bears football teams, and both were playing in the conference's championship games, he said.
The ruling, handed down Saturday, is devastating to the cheerleaders and players, Jones said. He said one boy was to have his mother from Hawaii here when his team was to have played in the title game.
"It might have been the only chance she would have had to see him play," Jones said.
The Brandon Bears are appealing, he said. If the organization does not win its appeal, it hopes to set up an unofficial game with its scheduled opponent. In addition to the disqualification, the Brandon Bears organization was also fined $2,500.
The conference's president, Greg Stallings, told The Tampa Tribune in an email:
"The executive board has a duty to other member organizations to apply the rules as written," he said. "This rule that is considered harsh was approved by all in the conference in a 14-0 vote."