all scores

Alabama girls’ basketball team wins title in boys’ league but denied trophy

(Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

An Alabama girls’ basketball team won the title in a boys’ league but was not recognized as the champion, reported Friday.

Hoover city administrator Allan Rice, though, chalked up the incident — and the online uproar that followed — to a misunderstanding.

The fifth-grade girls’ team competed against boys’ teams in the local recreational league. Jayme Mashayekh, whose daughter plays on the team, said the team did so to ensure it could use local gyms for its practices.

Half way through their season they were told they could not use the Hoover gyms for their practices unless they paid to play in the Hoover rec league,” she wrote. “They were told to stay together as a team they had to play up a level in competition and play the 5th grade boys… Playing the boys was a challenge they rose to meet. It made them better players and a better team.”

The girls’ team ended up winning the league championship but did not receive the championship trophy, Mashayekh wrote in a viral Facebook post.

“What did they do to get disqualified?” she wrote. “Did they not pay their dues? Did they not play up a level in competition? Oh, it’s because they’re GIRLS?!?!”

For the youth league, though, such a move is standard operating procedure, Rice said — not due to the players’ gender but due to their roster composition. The girls’ team is considered an “elite” team, with players selected based on their skill level, as opposed to the recreational boys’ teams they faced.

The girls’ team did not have to play in the boys’ league but chose to do so at the discretion of their coaches, Rice told Insider.

“These elite teams come in and they request to participate in the tournament and they’re told you can participate, but you’re not part of our league, so you can’t be named the champion for your grade level,” Rice said. “They agreed to that. The coaches knew that.”

A boys’ team was affected by the same policy this year, Rice said. The policy has been in place “for probably 15 years,” he said, but Hoover likely will rethink the policy and instead will bar elite teams from competing against recreational teams.

In an update to her original post, Mashayekh said the city reached out about “making things right for the girls.” The team has been invited to a city council meeting on Monday to receive recognition for their victory, Insider reported.