Pennsylvania boys tennis team DQ’ed for using a girl

April 29, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationTennis
A boys high school tennis team in Pennsylvania was forced to forfeit a handful of matches and its section title for using a girl during competition.

tennisCalifornia Area High School has teams for both boys and girls, so the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League ruled it violated a new rule by placing a girl on the boys team. Athletic Director Chris Minerd told The Associated Press he was hired after the rule was put in place and couldn’t tell by the roster that a girl was on the team because her name, Dakota, is unisex. He also said the rule wasn’t fully explained to coaches.

The AP includes some details on the evolution of the rule. A Commonwealth Court in 1975 ruled that a girl could play on the football team, and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association assumed that also meant boys could participate in girls sports. Some boys started playing on girls volleyball and field hockey teams because their school didn’t offer the sport, but in 2013 the courts clarified that the injunction only applied to girls seeking to play on boys teams.

From The AP:

Under the new rules, boys can still play on girls teams but only if the school’s principal determines that a girl wouldn’t lose her spot on the team, the boy wouldn’t increase the risk of injury to opponents because of his size and the boy wouldn’t provide a significant competitive advantage. The principal must also determine that the overall sports program at a school provides fewer opportunities for boys than girls.

The rule for girls remains simple: They can play on a boys’ team if the school doesn’t offer a comparable sport.

The rule started taking effect July 1, 2014. The California boys tennis team was forced to forfeit four matches and its section title, but it still managed to qualify for the playoffs.

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