CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The EMC Knights intermediate girls have been practicing for weeks, but the team will not be playing in the Chesterfield Girls Basketball League when the season starts this Saturday.
Their coach, Dr. Lachelle Waller, says she’s fighting to change that and is hoping to get the league to reverse a decision it made about allowing some ten year olds to play on her intermediate team with twelve and thirteen year old girls.
Dr. Waller says the CGBL right now won’t allow the younger girls to play up, despite being initially told by the league a few months ago that it would be OK.
Waller adds that the CGBL, for two years prior had already allowed those same girls to play up, so their request to do so again this year was nothing new.
When the team leaders realized the league— which now has a new executive board wouldn’t allow the girls to play up, Waller and the parents decided to move their team to an entirely different league, a co-ed league.
The goal was to keep all of their EMC Knights together as an intermediate team.
By seeking another opportunity in a different league, Dr. Waller says they no longer worried about meeting the CGBL registration deadline, which was Dec. 1.
As the team prepared to join a new co-ed league, Waller says they were then contacted by the president of the CGBL. Three days after the Dec. 1 deadline, Waller says the league president texted, offering her EMC Knights an opportunity to still play in the all girls league.
Waller said when they were able to meet the criteria set forth by the league president, she agreed and no longer sought to move the team to the co-ed league.
Once the deadline for the co-ed league passed, Waller said she was floored to get more disappointing news from the CGBL president. She said that’s when she was told that her intermediate girls would not be able to play because they missed the December 1st deadline.
“She already knew the December 1st deadline had passed when she contacted me on December 4th to tell me that she was going to take care of our girls and let them play if we pulled together 8 girls for a minor team,” Waller said.
Waller and parents say when they got that offer on December 4th from CGBL, they abandoned the plan to join another league and didn’t try to meet that co-ed league’s deadline.
Soon, they would find themselves out of both opportunities for the kids to play.
“I think the deceit and the way this was handled was wrong. In the end, it just hurts the girls,” Waller said.
CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to the CGBL President Veronica Evans. She said the EMC Knights’ intermediate team missed the registration, but did not comment on whether they initially gave the team the ok for the girls to play up and then reversed their decision.
Evans, via email did say their bylaws don’t allow ten year olds to play with older girls. They only allow that for girls who are twelve and thirteen.
She added “While official roster turn-in dates have passed, each girl is more than welcome to join an existing team within their age level. CGBL would love for every girl in Chesterfield County to play basketball! As you can see, again in the bylaws, girls can be added to an existing team up until the 5th game of the regular season, which is January 27th. Parents are welcome to contact me as I am happy to try to get them in touch with a team.”
Waller believes breaking up the team and adding her girls to other rosters within CGBL will be a hardship for kids and parents. She also says the league president doesn’t have authority to add girls to other teams because that’s not in the CGBL bylaws.
Waller says each coach must provide a waiver for a player if they want to switch teams. She is still hoping the league will reconsider.
“It is the responsibility of the board to follow the CGBL bylaws which are established by athletic associations across Chesterfield County," Evans added. "Every association/team is held to the same standards referenced above. Out of respect for the other 600 girls, coaches and athletic associations, that play in the league and adhere to the bylaws, it is important that we remain consistent.”
CBS 6 Problem Solvers contacted the Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation. Assistant Director Bob Smet tells us that they were made aware of the controversy involving this team and the CGBL.
He said they do not usually step in and take action unless they find that a league like this is not adhering to the bylaws. In that case, he says they step in and provide guidance.
Smet said the county did not take action in this case.
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