A Missouri high school was forced to forfeit a volleyball district title this week. Its crime: three of its players participating in a breast cancer awareness event.
Houston High School announced Wednesday it was hit with the automatic forfeit by the Missouri State High School Activities Association for violating "By-Law 3.13," which reads "a student shall neither practice nor compete as a member of a non-school team or as an individual participant in organized non-school competition in that same sport."
That "organized non-school competition" was Salem Memorial Hospital's Mammography Volley For A Cure co-ed volleyball tournament, held last Saturday. According to the hospital's Facebook page, the event came with a $150 entry fee.
The violation came with a minimal penalty of forfeit of their district final win over Licking High School due to their use of ineligible players. Per the Springfield News-Leader, MSHSAA's website already reflects the decision, with Licking now denoted as the district champion.
The decision would also disqualify the team from advancing in the Class 2 State Volleyball Tournament, effectively ending their season.
Houston's statement didn't signal any disagreement with the decision:
"While we are disappointed with this season-ending outcome, we are incredibly proud of our student-athletes and coaching staff. We celebrate all that the 2023 HHS Volleyball Team accomplished this season."
However, Houston apparently did disagree with the decision, as KYTV reported Thursday that a judge had granted the school district a temporary restraining order, allowing them to participate in the state volleyball tournament.
In the request for a TRO, Houston school leaders reportedly said they self-reported the violation, but also claimed players from other schools played in the same volleyball tournament.
Houston will play Stover at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday night in the sectional round of the tournament, while awaiting for a permanent decision in the court.