ARIZONA – On the basketball court, 10-year-old Jaelyn is a “superstar” player, whether it’s with male or female teammates.
Jaelyn plays on a 4th grade boy’s club team because she said the girl’s team didn’t give her any competition.
Having a girl on a boy’s team hasn’t been a problem for the coach, the players or any of the tournaments Frey Basketball Academy plays in.
That is, until a week ago, when she was told she couldn’t play in an upcoming tournament.
One of the state’s big tournaments is the upcoming Southwest Salsa Slam, a qualifying tournament for the national championships.
The tournament organizers notified the team that as long as Jaelyn was on the team, they wouldn’t be allowed to participate.
Here’s part of the email the team received:
“Girls can not play on boys teams and boys can not play on girls teams. That has been a rule in our tournament for a number of years but has not always been enforced. This year it will strictly be enforced for all teams.”
After a number of parents and Frey complained, the tournament sent another email:
“The intent of the rule is simple; if you allow a 4th grade girl to play on a 4th grade boys team, how do you stop a 6’10″ freshman boy from being allowed to play on a freshman girls team… NM Select will not bend or change our rules.”
Those rules are in line with AAU guidelines, which also prohibit girls from playing on boys.
But Frey said the tournament is not bound by AAU rules and should make an exception for fourth grade teams.
Frey and Jaelyn’s parents plan on fighting the decision in court.