A California girls basketball team has been removed from the City Section Open Division championship game and ruled ineligible for the state tournament for wearing illegal uniforms in its semifinal victory Saturday.
Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) wore uniforms with pink around the numbers in violation of City Section rules during a 57-52 win against View Park (Los Angeles), according to City Section Commissioner John Aguirre, as reported by The Los Angeles Times.
The uniforms were allowed in October during breast cancer awareness month but the school had not requested a color change to wear them at another point in the season. The City Section has a rule that says a school cannot wear uniforms with colors other than their school colors.
“Breast cancer awareness is in October, and there’s a process for people to request color change,” Aguirre said. “If they’re going to blatantly disregard these rules and regulations, they’re going to affect kids.”
Complicating matter is the fact that the school wore the breast cancer awareness month uniforms earlier in the same playoffs in a Feb. 20 win against University High.
Sanders said she was unaware that a waiver was required. She said the numbers were to show support for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, which hosts “Play 4 Kay” in February to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund for breast cancer research.
“Everybody’s baffled, it just doesn’t make sense,” Sanders said. “If you’re going to punish someone, punish me. I’ll take it. Tell me I can’t coach the game, but don’t take it away from the girls.”
View Park will move to the City Section final against Palisades.
“It has nothing to do with us, it’s nothing we did, but you feel torn apart for the young ladies who won’t be able to participate,” Palisades coach Torino Johnson said. “But as a coach and leader we have rules and have to be held accountable to those rules.”
The Times reports that Narbonne was already on probation for an earlier violation and that played a role in the decision. A player who received two technical fouls in last year’s playoffs played in the next game when she should have been suspended. That led to a second-round ouster.