A California high school girls’ basketball team that was forced to forfeit a win after a jersey violation has been reinstated in the playoffs after winning an appeal.
The Narbonne High School girls’ basketball team's win last Saturday was vacated because the players' jerseys featured pink letters and numbers, a special uniform design meant to raise breast cancer awareness. But according to the City Section's Gold Book (rule book), “Uniform colors may only be a combination of the official school colors as listed in the Board of Managers Gold Book.”
Teams can apply for a waiver, but Narbonne officials failed to do so. Unfortunately, forfeiting the win also meant disqualification from the playoffs for the team."Breast cancer awareness is in October, and there's a process for people to request color change," City Section Commissioner John Aguirre told the Los Angeles Times after announcing the disqualification. "If they're going to blatantly disregard these rules and regulations, they're going to affect kids."
Narbonne was already on probation for rules violations stemming from last year's playoffs, where a player was allowed to play a game despite receiving two technical fouls in the game prior, ruling her ineligible.
Laticia Smith, a Narbonne player, said of the disqualification, “the punishment didn’t fit the crime. We felt like we really didn’t know, we had no idea and if we had some type of warning, we would have never came on the court with those uniforms.”
Following an appeal, the team will now be allowed to participate in the section finals this Saturday. However, their coach, Victoria Sanders, has been suspended for the rest of the season as a result of the rule violation, and the team will remain on probation next season.
In response to the punishment, Sanders said, “I can accept it.”