Eight boys basketball players in Kentucky have been suspended for the first game of the season due to their participation in an organized game during a disallowed time period.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, athletic directors from five schools each self-reported violations under the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Bylaw 9. The bylaw “restricts basketball and football players from participating in organized contests of those sports outside of school from the first day of school through the school’s last scheduled contest (including postseason) in those sports,” per the Herald-Leader.
The eight players participated in an organized event during the unveiling of a revamped basketball court at Lexington’s Charles Young Center on Sept. 10. Former Kentucky and current Los Angeles Lakers star Julius Randle was present and filming the pilot episode of a documentary series, “Street Ball Stories,” the Herald-Leader reported.
The affected players are Skylar Hart, Jacob Kenney, Nate Mack, Rasaan Thompson of Frederick Douglass (Lexington); Evan Dreux of Lafayette (Lexington); Myron “Deuce” Ralls of Montgomery County (Mt Sterling, Ky.); Jaylen Barber of Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.); and JJ Ramey of South Laurel (London, Ky.).
Robert “Nimbo” Hammons coaches the Charlotte Court AAU team and was asked to have his team participate in the event and be filmed for the series. The eight suspended players all play for Hammons, who told the Herald-Leader he informed each of the school’s ADs after he realized they might have broken a rule.
“Even though it was a documentary, it was kind of on a script, they said because we had a scoreboard there and referees there, even though nobody was paid or anything like that, they said it was considered a scrimmage,” Hammons told the Herald-Leader. “ … It wasn’t like we were trying to get ahead on something. It wasn’t like we were trying to scrimmage and see if we could do something. It’s something that was a community event.”
KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett told the Herald-Leader that the organization’s membership has declined on several occasions to make “substantial changes” to Bylaw 9.
“The rule has long served to help student-athletes pulled in multiple directions by our two most popular sports in terms of participation, football and boys’ basketball, as well as girls’ basketball and fall sports offerings,” Tackett said in a news release obtained by the Herald-Leader. “In recent years, the staff has initiated changes that have been approved by the membership to ensure that the rule didn’t inappropriately inhibit students from participating in single-day activities that may assist in the student having opportunities to play beyond high school.”