Harbor City Narbonne has been removed from the City Section Open Division girls' basketball playoffs and forced to forfeit its semifinal win over View Park in a decision by City Section Commissioner John Aguirre after the team wore illegal uniforms in its 57-52 win on Saturday.
View Park will replace Narbonne in Saturday's championship game against Palisades at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Narbonne also will not be allowed into the state playoffs, according to City Section administrator Dick Dornan.
The team wore uniforms with pink numbers and pink letters, in violation of City Section rules.
The fact that Narbonne was already on probation for an earlier violation of City Section rules also played a role in the decision. During last year's state playoffs, a player who had received two techinicals ended up playing illegally in the next game when she should have had to sit out the game.
"Breast cancer awareness is in October, and there's a process for people to request color change," Aguirre said. "If they're going to blatantly disregard these rules and regulations, they're going to affect kids."
In statement released Monday night, Principal Gerald Kobata said, "Ths a huge disappointment for the girls basketball team, a team that worked so hard to achieve success on the court and in the classroom. We were unaware that honoring cancer victims with uniforms was against California Interscholastic Federation rules. I feel badly for the students—especially the seniors—their families and the Narbonne community. Though bound by the decision, I want to make sure this never happens again here."
Narbonne Coach Victoria Sanders said she was unaware that prior approval was needed to wear pink on the uniforms.
"I was under the impression we were able to do it," she said. "I didn't know we had to fill out a waiver."
The City Section has a rule that schools must wear uniforms only featuring their school colors. Earlier this school year, North Hollywood had to forfeit a girls' volleyball match for wearing black uniforms. Black is not part of its school colors.
Adding to the confusion is that University has called the City Section office today asking to get a chance to play View Park because Narbonne used the same uniforms last week in a win over University, Coach Ron Cass said. University did not file a protest at the time.
"We want to play View Park," Cass said.
The City Section denied the University request, saying the protest needed to be filed earlier.