VA Girls’ Basketball Team Disqualified for Not Wearing Masks

A Virginia high school girls basketball team is they had a championship opportunity ‘stolen’ away from them after the team was disqualified from a tournament for not wearing personal protective masks.

According to a report from WUSA-9, the Word of Life Christian Academy girls basketball team played the game without masks, but parents of the team say the players were told they could take them off by the opposing team and the referee.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

The team qualified for the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) state tournament despite playing the season with only six players, according to WUSA-9.

“Throughout the season, these girls have worked hard. They had six am practices,” Velvet Marion, whose daughter plays on the team, told WUSA-9.

In the team’s first-round road playoff matchup, parents of the Word of Life team claim both the opposing team and the game referee said the team could play without wearing masks. Word of Life went on to win the game and advance to the next round.

Following the victory, the Word of Life team was informed by VISAA officials they were disqualified from the tournament for not wearing masks, WUSA-9 reported.

The shock of the disqualification soon turned to frustration when the parents claim they saw players of other teams in the tournament, including the team they were scheduled to play next, also not wearing masks at times, according to WUSA-9.

“I think we kind of all were just in awe,” Nakiia Buyck, a mother of another player, told WUSA-9. “To know that they went through this season to be picked out is heart-wrenching.”

Buyck also alleged to the news station that a boys’ team that was also disqualified was able to see their punishment overturned by the league.

The school’s administrator, Timothy Rockafellow, said the school sent letters of appeal to VISAA and the board, but he told WUSA-9 those were ignored by the organization.

“It is very discouraging to see the impact of an unjust and inconsistent decision as our team’s opportunity to win a state championship was stolen out from under them without any consideration of the facts presented and reasons why masks were not worn by either team,” Rockafellow wrote in a statement to WUSA-9. “Also, all of the players were required to submit to COVID tests before they could play in the tournament.”

To read the full story from WUSA-9 on the Virginia high school getting disqualified from the state tournament for not wearing masks, click here