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The Voice

Athletes Question Uniform Rules

Dusty Hill, Reporter/Photo Editor

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By now, regardless of your athletic participation, you’ve most likely heard talk of new rules regarding the sports uniforms, which weren’t exactly met with hoots and cheers of enthusiasm. The athletic department has been hit with quite a bit of opposition upon the announcement of these policies.

Water polo players gripe that they cannot walk to their cars after practice or even use the bathroom adjacent to the pool building without putting on shorts or a towel.

Volleyball players are upset that they have to go to the locker rooms to remove their skirts, despite the fact that they wear their spandex uniform shorts underneath, and that they cannot change out of their game jerseys in the gym. And worst of all? Students have been informed that they will receive a detention if they fail to comply.

However, before we jump on the “this is anti-feminist!” train, it’s important to note where these rules are originating from. Assistant Athletic Director Kevin Saldivar provided us with a copy CCS rules for attire which read:

The following would be considered as violations of the policy:

  • The removal of a jersey when no undershirt is worn
  • The removal of pants, shorts, skorts or any uniform bottom
  • The removal of a warm-up item when no game apparel is worn underneath.
  • Deck changing at swim or water polo contests
  • The partial and or total removal of a singlet or leotard

(CCS Policy: Sportsmanship, p. 5)

 

Girls Volleyball Bylaws:

  1. Court Changing: Changing shirts shall take place in locker rooms or restrooms only (i.e., stripping down to a sports bra in view of spectators is unacceptable behavior. Violations of this rule will be considered “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.”

(CCS Girls Volleyball Bylaws: Section 8. Rules)

In summary, when we joined CCS, we agreed to abide by these rules. Not doing so could result in ejection of players from a game in some circumstances.

So yes, the rules might be inconvenient, but unless we want to pull out of this athletic division, we can’t change them.

It’s also important to note that the rules really aren’t new. These CCS regulations have been in effect for years; however, students have been brushing them off, despite repeated reminders from Saldivar and coaches. Feeling that things were getting out of hand recently, the Athletic Department began promising this year to impose detention if the rules were not followed. According to Saldivar, no detentions have been issued to date.

Basically, because these rules don’t originate from Presentation, it’s unfair to point fingers at the Athletic Department when we disagree with them. But that’s not to say the implementation of the new rules has been all fine and dandy.

For example, some rules that athletes are complaining about are not CCS rules. Field hockey players have to ask their teachers if it’s OK for them to remove their jackets in class because their uniforms do not comply with regular Pres uniform policy.

Also, athletes seem to be confused about exactly what was communicated to them. The NFHS’ (National Federation of State High School Associations) uniform guidelines specify that basketball players must wear “undergarments” that are the same primary color as the uniform. Softball players must wear black, white, gray, or school colors. In other words, no neon orange sports bra under your white jersey.

But because the rules are nearly always communicated verbally, misunderstandings abound. Some softball players we spoke to said they’d been told they were only allowed to wear white sports bras at all times (games and practices), while others said they remembered being told it was only for games or that they could wear only light colors.

Water polo’s rules about covering up to go to the bathroom were also a verbal directive that one water polo player confirms she heard, while the Athletic Department says it never happened.

This miscommunication seems to be the case with many of the rules regarding sports uniforms. In fact, here at the Voice, we’ve been investigating this issue for weeks and the emergence of some rules still appears murky to us.

When it was decided that these rules were to be enforced, it would have been helpful if they had been written in a place where students could read and reference them. The average person doesn’t have the time to read through dozens of pages of CCS bylaws in order to know what they can and cannot do, so perhaps each coach can hand out a condensed version of CCS/NHFS rules that are pertinent to their sport.

It was also not made clear which rules were from CCS/NFHS and which were Pres rules, leading to unnecessary confusion.

Yes, Presentation students should respect all rules we hear, regardless of whether they come from CCS or Pres officials. But as curious teenagers, we like hearing the “why” behind the instructions we are given. Granted, the “why” behind some of these rules is sometimes sexist or unfair, but providing solid reasons often makes us more likely to obey them.

It should be clear by now that we have a communication problem regarding athletic uniform rules.These rules should be known and accessible in writing to everyone on campus–athletes, coaches, and administrators–so that we can avoid this game of telephone, where students repeat things they think they heard or coaches/administrators say something inaccurate and then can’t remember what they said.

It’s safe to assume that the implementation of these rules would have gone over more smoothly if students had a written copy of the rules, knew where the rules were coming from, and why they were being asked to follow them.

To be fair, student athletes also need to understand that rules are rules, and many of the ones they’re complaining about are out of Pres’ control.

In the future, let’s agree to communicate better, update our athletic handbook with the most pertinent rules, post the rules in the locker room, and send out an email listing the policies to each team so that students know exactly what is expected of them–from Pres and CCS–at games and practices.

Clarity matters, and it should be the goal for all future Pres uniform policies.

 

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The School Newspaper of Presentation High School.
Athletes Question Uniform Rules