TopOfTheCircle.com

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Aug. 5, 2015 — A statement glosses over a severe problem

Late today, the National Travel Basketball Association and the Charlottesville Cavaliers U-10 boys’ basketball travel team released a joint statement about a controversy that has roiled the sports world in the last day or so.

The controversy centered on a 10-year-old girl, Kymora Johnson, who suited up for a boys’ travel team because there were no opportunities to play with a girls’ team in her area. The team traveled to an NTBA-sanctioned event in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and made it to the championship final before the Cavaliers were disqualified.

For having a girl on the team.

It’s not the first time that men have tried to enforce gender norms and have tried to separate the sexes in athletic competition. There was controversy back in the ancient Olympics when women tried to participate in the events. Supposedly, that’s why ancient Greeks competed in the nude.

Thing is, we’re more than 30 years past Title IX, the Federal law that mandated equality in educational funding and, by extension, equality in sports. In a culture which has celebrated Mone Davis for her pitching last year in the Little League World Series and the world-beating U.S. women’s national soccer team, the NTBA is sending the wrong message regarding equality.

Then again, it’s not surprising. The National Travel Basketball Association is a three-year-old private firm, unaffiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union, USA Basketball, or any recognized governing body. It’s a pay-to-play organization that charges players and coaches $50 a year for the privilege of paying even more money to play in one of several tournaments the company runs throughout the year.

In other words, the NTBA is a law unto itself.

Not a good sign.

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