Hoover considering policy changes after girls basketball trophy controversy

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The City of Hoover says it is reviewing its policies after a controversy involving a girls basketball team that did not receive a trophy after beating a boys’ team in the championship game of a recreational league.

A statement from the city today said that “all youth programs and related policies are under review.”

The statement came after Insider reported Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice as saying “the town will likely now ban elite teams from competing against the regular teams.”

Earlier this week, in a private ceremony, the girls’ team received a trophy and commemorative coin from Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato.

The girls, who have been teammates for three years representing Spain Park in a competitive girls’ basketball league, were required to enter the Hoover fifth-grade boys’ rec league if they wanted to keep utilizing Hoover City Schools gyms for their practices.

Their coach, Wes Russell, said the girls understood the requirements, which included not being eligible for the championship trophy if they won the league.

The mother of one of the team later apologized for a social media post suggesting the decision was based on gender.

The city earlier this week said its parks and recreation department “for many years” has allowed “elite” teams to participate in tournaments. The teams are not sought out by department, but request to participate. Those teams are selected based on skill and not similar to regular league teams.

Because of this, according to the city, teams must willingly agree to compete above their grade range.

“If an “elite” team participates in an HPRD youth tournament, and makes it to the championship round, the rules state that they cannot receive a trophy as a result of that win,” the statement reads.

Coaches are also made aware of this. “Only the team that is grade-appropriate has ever been eligible to be recognized as the tournament champions,” the city stated.

This has applied to both boys and girls teams, according to the city.

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