In the US state of Alabama, a girls' team won the boys' basketball league. The second-placed team should get the trophy. This is reported by an apparently outraged mother on Facebook. As a result, the girls were told mid-season that they could no longer use the Hoover, Alabama, gym unless they paid for the Hoover Rec League, the boys' recreational league. "In order to stay together as a team, they had to step up the competition and compete against the fifth-grade boys," the mother writes. The girls' team would have mastered this challenge.
However, they were told before the league games that they could play, but if they won they would not get a trophy. "What did they do to get disqualified? Didn't they pay their dues? Didn't they play up a notch in the competition? Oh it's because they're girls?!?!" the mother wrote on Facebook.
But according to a report on the local site "AL.com", the city justifies the process differently: According to this, sports teams have been allowed to apply for tournaments for several years. But they would have to be ready to play in a higher age group. If such a team takes part in a leisure league tournament and wins, "according to the rules, they cannot receive a trophy for this win," according to the city's statement, according to AL.com. All coaches would be informed.
"Only a team that matches the class level can be recognized as the tournament winner," the city said. This was independent of gender and also happened to a boy team: "This clearly shows that the same rules applied to all teams, regardless of gender."
The outraged mum has since added to her original Facebook post: "The City of Hoover and Hoover Rec Center have made an effort to make things right for the girls. We appreciate the support and hope this is a step in the right direction is to give our female athletes more and better access to facilities and opportunities."
In a second update, she writes, "I apologize that this post had the impact it did. I now know that this decision was not based on gender, it was a lack of communication." The coach knew the rule, but most parents probably didn't. The coach wrote to the group: "What happened didn't look good. But the city is trying to do it right. Let's allow it." She agrees, writes the mother. She hopes the rules, eligibility and expectations can be better communicated in the future.
In fact, the rules for youth leagues are now set to be revised "to ensure that all competition and recognition procedures are fair to all participants and that these procedures are better understood".
Sources: Facebook post by Jayme Mashayek, "AL.com"