The decision to disqualify an Alaska swimmer because of a "uniform violation" over her swimsuit was overturned Tuesday by the state's governing body for high school sports.
The Alaska School Activities Association overturned the disqualification of Dimond High School swimmer Brecklynn Willis, 17, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Wills competed in four races Friday in a dual meet against Chugiak High School, and she was disqualified from a race she won after a referee said she could see "butt cheek touching butt cheek" because of her swimsuit, the newspaper reported.
Dimond coach Scott O'Brien appealed the ruling and the Anchorage School District presented it to the Alaska School Activities Association, the Daily News reported. The association sided with the district, ruling that O'Brien should have been notified about illegal attire before Willis' heat, NBC News reported. That did not happen at Friday's meet, the association ruled.
The district said in a statement Tuesday it reviewed the incident and decided Willis "was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body."
"We cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind, and certainly not based on body shape," the district said. "This disqualification was heavy-handed and unnecessary."
The state's high school governing body ruled that “All evidence gathered, including the statement provided by the official, indicated the official did not notify the coach prior to disqualifying the student.”
The Anchorage School District said it is seeking decertification of the referee who disqualified Willis and is pursuing revisions to the uniform rule, according to the Daily News. It said the National Federation of High School swimsuit coverage rule “is ambiguous and allows the potential for bias to influence officials’ decisions.”
According to the federation's rulebook, boys must cover their buttocks and girls must cover their buttocks and breasts.
All points that were taken away from Willis and the Dimond team because of the disqualification will be restored, the ASAA. The association said the disqualification was made in error, NBC News reported.
Even with the disqualification, Dimond won the meet, KTUU reported.