Travel hoops team disqualified for playing a girl despite rules allowing it

The parents of players on the U-11 Charlottesville Cavs boys basketball team were extremely unhappy at a Myrtle Beach youth basketball tournament. As it turns out, they had every reason to be, too.

As reported by the Scrimmage Play youth sports site, the Cavs were disqualified from the Elite Eight of a youth basketball tournament in Myrtle Beach because of the inclusion of Kymora Johnson, a soon-to-be fifth grader in Virginia, on the Cavs roster. While the team’s coaches could traditionally bear responsibility for this disqualification, the Cavs officials insist that they did not try to hide Johnson’s involvement, going as far as to insist that tournament officials understood that Johnson was a girl when the team checked in. Rather than face potential elimination, Cavs coaches were told that teams were allowed to field one girl on their roster.

That’s before things apparently changed, following the decision by officials to disqualify the Cavs shortly after the team had advanced to the tournament semifinals, apparently because another team from Florida had already been disqualified for fielding a girl. The decision was a consistent one on the part of the officials, who had not cleared the Florida team to use a girl as they had Charlottesville.

Yet the disqualification still smacked of a double standard on the part of Myrtle Beach officials, which hasn’t been lost on Johnson’s mother, Jessica Thomas-Johnson.

“We submit all of the paperwork, the whole team checks in in full uniform, with a birth certificate,” Thomas-Johnson told Scrimmage Play. “She has hot pink fingernail polish and a pink headband. She’s a girl. … (We asked them to) let the rest of this team play tomorrow, let’s be fair. Even if that was the rule, which is nowhere to be found.”

The decision has sparked controversy both locally and throughout the national basketball community. If nothing else, the flashpoint incident has created a sense of unity that everyone deserves to play, regardless of gender or belief.

More News