High school softball rule banning hair beads, approval required for religious headgear removed from books

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – In April, Hillside High School student-athlete Nicole Pyles wore her braids with beads during a softball game and was berated by a referee, forcing her teammates to cut his hair.

“The referee walks up to me and my coach and says, either you take the beads off or you can’t play because it’s a safety hazard,” Pyles said in an interview with CBS 17 in may.

Now, thanks to a revised rule, Pyles can wear her pearls to protect her hair, just like many others can now, as well as those who wear headgear for religious reasons.

These and six other rule revisions were recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Softball Rules Committee at its June 14-16 meeting held in a virtual format and approved by subsequently by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In rule 3-2-5b, language that previously prohibited hard objects to control hair, including beads, has been removed from the rulebook.

The committee said it did not believe the use of hard objects, such as beads, posed a risk of injury to other players. On the other hand, the prohibition of these articles has been interpreted as infringing on a person’s cultural background.

Additionally, headgear worn for religious reasons in high school softball will no longer require prior approval from the relevant state high school association.

Revised Rule 3-2-5c states that “Headgear worn for religious reasons should be made of soft, non-abrasive materials and should be snug so that they are unlikely to come loose during play. Heads worn for medical reasons require the approval of the state association.

The Softball Rules Committee is the seventh NFHS Sports Rules Committee to have changed the rules this year based on religious and cultural background.

In addition to softball, participants in volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey and spirits will be permitted to wear religious headwear without the prior approval of their respective state association.

In swimming and diving, for religious reasons, competitors may wear full body coveralls without obtaining prior permission from the state association.

“The NFHS, in its efforts to be a learning and inclusive organization, strives to work with our young participants in our efforts to celebrate the beautiful diversity that continues to increase,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff. , Executive Director of the NFHS, in a recent article in The NFHS Voice. “We are thrilled with this and want to support it. And while we always strive to ensure the safety of children and to ensure that games are played the way they were designed to be played, we do want to recognize the importance of a young person’s identity. .

The committee made other changes that affected the rules of the game in high school softball. Read the here.

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