New Ban Could Keep Boys Off Field Hockey Teams - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

New Ban Could Keep Boys Off Field Hockey Teams

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QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -

On a week where a girl is showing she can play with the boys, a new Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rule has forced one school district to ban boys from playing with the girls.

The Quakertown Community School Board recently voted to not allow boys from playing on the high school field hockey team.

The school district said this was a lose-lose decision.

They said it comes on the heels of a PIAA rule change that says if boys play on the team, they will be ineligible for postseason play.

"I was really disappointed because I've worked since seventh grade playing on the team. I've been playing field hockey since I was in third grade. I've been working really hard and, now to get penalized for putting in this much work and becoming as good as I am, I just think it's wrong," Josh Schwarz said.

The senior may still be on the practice field. But he is one of three male members of the Quakertown High field hockey team who no longer play in games.

"It's difficult, but it's still worth it as long as I'm playing, at this point," he said.

Two months ago, the PIAA changed the rules, preventing teams with boys from competing in the playoffs, citing injury risks, competitive balance and opportunity restrictions for girls.

They said 92 percent of the schools in the state favor the move.

The choice to allow boys to play still lies with each district.

Quakertown's assistant superintendent said the board made their decision last week, their first meeting since the rule change.

"I can't think of many during the course of my career that have been lose-lose in this way," Assistant Superintendent Nancianne Edwards said.

The PIAA said around a half-dozen schools are affected by this change.

"If there were more mixed-gender teams, then there would be the opportunity for mixed-gender playoffs, which would kind of mitigate the impact of the whole situation, but there aren't," Edwards said.

Schwarz hopes one day field hockey will become a more popular sport for guys in our country, so boys' teams will become more common.

In the meantime, he plans on challenging the new rule put in place by the PIAA.

"I'm upset with the PIAA, because the PIAA shouldn't have made a rule that banned a certain sex from playing any sport. If there's no guys' team, where am I supposed to play?" he asked.

Quakertown schools say the ban extends to all levels of play from varsity on down, which is 30 athletes. It also applies to other mixed-gender sports, such as volleyball.

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