Narbonne High School girls' basketball will participate in Saturday's City Section Championship – although their coach has been suspended
The Narbonne High School girls’ basketball team has yet to play Saturday’s Los Angeles City Section championship game – but it’s already scored a crucial victory.
The members of the team made headlines this week when they were barred from the game for wearing unapproved uniforms bearing breast cancer awareness colors in an earlier playoff game last Saturday.
But following a national uproar, a three-person panel overturned the ban Tuesday and said the team could play in the game after all, although their coach, Victoria Sanders, has been suspended for the rest of the season.
“In the spirit of the game and for the kids, the appeals committee has decided to grant Narbonne’s request for reinstatement,” John Aguirre, commissioner of the Los Angeles City Section, said in a statement, per The New York Times.
The team was initially forced to forfeit its 57-52 victory over View Park when it was determined the team violated league rules by failing to request permission to wear the pink uniforms for breast cancer awareness. Official rules state schools must ask before donning uniforms that feature hues beyond the school’s official colors – in this case, green, gold and black.
The league said it made the decision to bar the team partly because Narbonne also violated rules the previous season when it allowed a player to participate in a playoff game despite receiving two technicals in a previous game that should have required her to sit out.
Sanders, who offered to receive a suspension if it meant the girls could play, recently told the Daily Breeze the team wore the pink jerseys to show support for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, which hosts “Play 4 Kay” every February to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund for breast cancer research. The fund is named in memory of the former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach who died in 2009.
Although the team is reinstated, the panel ruled that it will remain on probation next season and cannot host a playoff game in 2016, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Narbonne’s boys’ basketball coach will shepherd the team for the rest of the season. Girls’ coach Sanders says that’s okay with her if it means her team can stay in the game.
“I can accept it,” she told the Los Angeles Times of her punishment.