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01/16/17- Reminder about Religious Uniform Accommodations

January 16, 2017 Athletic Department Blog Updates

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Frequently in the NFHS Playing rules, there is a reference to the prohibition on items being worn by participants without documented evidence provided by the state association.

For example, in NFHS Basketball Rule 3-5-4e(b), there is a statement allowing head coverings for religious reasons that reads, “In the event there is documented evidence provided to the state association that a participants may not expose his/her uncovered head, the state association may approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player, and which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely it will come off during play.” 

In the event that an official encounters this type of head covering and is alerted to such by the head coach of the team (in any sport), officials should allow the wearing of the head cover (or other uniform accommodation) provided it does not appear to be dangerous to any other player (or the player themselves), and provided it does not appear it will come off during play. Following the contest, the situation should be reported by the officials to the KHSAA using the online incident report form and staff will communicate with the member school. This will help ensure that either the proper documentation is available for future contests (if deemed necessary by the staff), or that a blanket approval is given and the local officials association is notified to prevent future issues. 

It is strongly encouraged that officials not be perceived as making religious or other non-game related determinations in this situation, even though they may be doing so with the best of intentions.

In the event of similar situations regarding medical or cosmetic items, unless specifically precluded by rule (i.e. jewelry in many sports), officials should adopt the same stance.

For further questions, contact the KHSAA offices.

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