Find My Team >>

Log in to High School OT with one click using your favorite social network:
OR
Log in using your High School OT account:



Wrong email/password combination.

Forgot password?

Register with High School OT using your favorite social network:
OR
Register for a High School OT account using our web form.
Log In
Register

High School Sports

NCHSAA won't waive age rule for football player

Published: 2011-08-09 15:24:00
Updated: 2011-08-11 17:53:21

Aug 11, 2011

Despite public momentum building that an age restriction be waived so a Sampson County teenager can suit up with his high school football team, the agency that regulates prep sports in North Carolina says there's nothing it can do.

"We want what's best for this young man, but if we make this one exception, where does it end?" Davis Whitfield, commissioner for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, said Tuesday.

Brett Bowden is a junior with Down Syndrome at Hobbton High School in Newton Grove and has been a part of the varsity football team for two years, participating in practices, cheering from the sidelines and even running a touchdown play after games.

But school athletics administrators told his parents last week that he can no longer wear football shoulder pads because it violates a NCHSAA regulation that limits the age students can participate in sports to 18.

Brett recently turned 19, and his mother, Pat Bowden, and teammates say they are heartbroken by the rule. They want the NCHSAA to make an exception.

By Tuesday afternoon, more than 5,500 people had joined the Facebook page "Let Brett Bowden Play," and nearly 1,000 people had added their names to an online petition.

Whitfield said nothing prohibits Brett from wearing a jersey, sitting on the sidelines or being a member of the football team in any other capacity.

He simply can't wear the pads, otherwise he would be considered a player.

"The rule would become void, because you would be making consistent exceptions," Whitfield said. "We have to be consistent in how we address this manner."

School officials say there's nothing they can do.

Anne Johnson, director of Sampson County Schools' exceptional children's program, said the football team can't be part of Brett's individual education plan, because football isn't part of school curriculum and because the school system doesn’t have the authority to override NCHSAA rules.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction did not respond Tuesday to WRAL News' request for comment.

Meanwhile, Hobbton High had its first scrimmage Tuesday evening, and Brett was there but without his pads.

Pat Bowden said that her son  doesn't understand the change and that her family will keep fighting for him.

  • Reporter: Mike Charbonneau
  • Web Editor: Kelly Gardner
COMMENTS

39 Comments



page 1 | 2
<prev    next>
sort order: oldest first | newest first

If the rules are bent for just one person, it opens up the door for them to be broken in the future. The rules are put in place for a reason, and they should be followed. Lets celebrate his accomplishment of being a senior in high school, and the fact that he will graduate soon. There is nothing wrong with giving him a jersy to wear during games, and helping out at practice.
sicntired
August 10, 2011 5:40 p.m.
• Report abuse

Rules are rules and should be followed by all. He can wait an join the high school at the proper time.
wildcat
August 10, 2011 4:19 p.m.
• Report abuse

There is no way under the sun to change this rule, and face a lawsuit down the road. This kid needs to be a manager/water boy and let him enjoy being with the team.
Sauras69
August 10, 2011 2:31 p.m.
• Report abuse

scorekeep... just like your comment is "smart" for responding to a rhetorical statement.
shoyaryt
August 10, 2011 2:07 p.m.
• Report abuse

whistler411.... I think you called that right!
YippiYiyoKiYay
August 10, 2011 1:57 p.m.
• Report abuse

whistler & others - why can't there be common sense judgment applied to rules exceptions. I don't know what exceptions might be OK. Some would be tough decisions, and I agree that if close then you err on the side of enforcement. It is a far cry from this kid who only wants to dress out (but never play) because this is a simple event in his life that can give him an incredible amount of joy, vs. any exception for a kid who actually wants to play. Sure, making exceptions can soon take you over the edge if proper judgment is not used, but the cliff ain't even in sight in this case.
Slo-talker
August 10, 2011 1:57 p.m.
• Report abuse

"willingly accept the full penalty from the NCHSAA." Yes, that's real smart as the team would have to forfiet EVERY game he suited up for. Let's punish the entire team for one kid.
scorekeep
August 10, 2011 1:40 p.m.
• Report abuse

This is NOT a case of discrimmanation! The rule is for EVERYBODY nd EVERY public school!!! THe NCHSAA is doing what it is supposed to do. Who's next if this kid plays? If he gets injured at practice or during a game-his parents would be lining up lawyers. Not to mention-the other students, from years past with the age issue, would be lining up against the NCHSAA.
scorekeep
August 10, 2011 1:38 p.m.
• Report abuse

If he still goes to the school, then there should not be any controversy as to him suiting up and practicing. Universities do it all the time with players who are red shirted. This young man should be commended for what he is doing rather than being punished. I agree, children with special needs are discriminated against. Adults seem to be more discriminatory than young people. If the team and the coach want him on the team there should be no problem.
whocares
August 10, 2011 1:29 p.m.
• Report abuse

If it's so important to the coach, the school, the team and the community... then continue to dress the kid in full pads, allow him to participate in practice and warm-up drills, keep him on the sideline during the game, allow him to run his touchdown play after the games... AND willingly accept the full penalty from the NCHSAA.
shoyaryt
August 10, 2011 1:24 p.m.
• Report abuse

page 1 | 2
<prev    next>
sort order: oldest first | newest first

This story is closed for comments.

Our Take
More Our Take
  1. Chris__Edwards: A little rest and back to work. @Duke_BASE Show tomorrow night at 6:30 from @TobaccoRoadDUR or online http://t.co/ZDcDLUYbcA
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:25 PM
  2. Chris__Edwards: RT @aaronfitt: Michael Matuella pitched 8.2 shutout in #Duke's 2-0 win today, completing road sweep at Va Tech. I hear his stuff was electr…
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 7:23 PM
  3. Chris__Edwards: RT @laurakeeley: And via @Chris__Edwards, it's the first time #Duke has three sweeps in ACC play (ND. UNC, VTech)
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:04 PM
  4. JamesAlverson: Dang Bobcats??!? What happened?
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 5:41 PM
  5. Chris__Edwards: Class move RT @NBAonTNT: .@CraigSagerJr interviews Pop, who has a special message for his dad. Watch it here: http://t.co/4geSXrTwhq
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:56 PM
  6. ZachMayoHSOT: The Heat are in trouble. How will the Big Three win in their first season without David Stern?
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:40 PM
  7. NickStevensHSOT: By the way, I can't wait to hashtag #Hornets instead of #Bobcats.
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:31 PM
  8. NickStevensHSOT: Pulling for the #Bobcats! Pulling for the miracle! #BeatTheHeat
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:30 PM
  9. Chris__Edwards: For the first time since 1994 @Duke_BASE has three sweeps in ACC play! #GoDuke
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:26 PM
  10. ZachMayoHSOT: RT @MandyWRAL: And we have a bench-clearing brawl in Pittsburgh! http://t.co/ZcAoGtq1Qd
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 2:16 PM
  11. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_BASE: Don't miss today's audio broadcast courtesy of @Chris__Edwards &amp; @BlueDevil_NTWRK -- http://t.co/0pW0Kt3NND #goduke
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:13 PM
  12. NickStevensHSOT: My plans for the rest of the day... #NBAPlayoffs http://t.co/BKmn0AbxLC
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:13 PM
  13. Chris__Edwards: Beautiful day in Blacksburg! @Duke_BASE goes for a sweep of the Hokies, join us at 12:50 on http://t.co/ZDcDLUYbcA for all the action!
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:28 AM
  14. Chris__Edwards: RT @CoachJordan2: http://t.co/ovWPmq3CK1
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:27 AM
  15. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_BASE: RT @CoachJordan2: http://t.co/xU1iwvizBN
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:27 AM
  16. HighSchoolOT: Happy Easter to all of you. Enjoy the day.
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 9:20 AM
  17. Chris__Edwards: RT @CoachJordan2: Luke 24:6 “He is not here but he is risen!” Happy Easter!
      — Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:55 AM
  18. Chris__Edwards: Wild day in ACC (again). With Duke win, losses by Wake &amp; GT…Duke is now tied for 5th spot in ACCT and currently 3rd in Coastal.
      — Saturday, April 19, 2014 11:45 PM
  19. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_BASE: Duke Rolls Past Virginia Tech 13-3 - Blue Devils Total 17 Hits in ACC Win http://t.co/A8LSF1Orn5
      — Saturday, April 19, 2014 8:12 PM
  20. Chris__Edwards: We are on the air with @Duke_BASE join us on http://t.co/ZDcDLUYbcA @BlueDevil_NTWRK #GoDuke
      — Saturday, April 19, 2014 2:20 PM
  21. Chris__Edwards: Good morning from Blacksburg! @Duke_BASE looks for a series win over Virginia Tech. Our coverage starts at 1:50 on http://t.co/ZDcDLUYbcA
      — Saturday, April 19, 2014 11:40 AM
  22. HighSchoolOT: RT @ApexHighSchool: Coach Bristol moves over from a very successful tenure as head men's jv and assistant varsity coach.
      — Saturday, April 19, 2014 10:49 AM
  23. HighSchoolOT: RT @ApexHighSchool: Apex High is pleased to announce the naming of Isaac Bristol as our new women's varsity basketball coach!
      — Saturday, April 19, 2014 10:49 AM
  24. HighSchoolOT: Competition fuels Green Hope senior following gruesome leg injury http://t.co/xEVDBBuEiJ
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 6:29 PM
  25. HighSchoolOT: .@GHBaseball won another important SWAC game last night, beating Middle Creek for the second time this year. STORY: http://t.co/SfPHfdGg0G
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 11:21 AM
  26. HighSchoolOT: The mercy rule went into effect yesterday when Heritage softball traveled to Leesville Road. STORY: http://t.co/vM1EPmZGX6
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 11:18 AM
  27. HighSchoolOT: Heritage softball slams Leesville in six innings http://t.co/LIBLzPHW9p
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:14 AM
  28. HighSchoolOT: Green Hope stays hot in win over Middle Creek http://t.co/6SxHNt05iE
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:14 AM
  29. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: The Green Hope Falcons stayed on top of the @HSOTSWAC tonight with a win over Middle Creek. READ: http://t.co/9wGRJoOT1l
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 11:16 PM
  30. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: BASEBALL FINAL: Green Hope 6, Middle Creek 3 #hsotscores
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:49 PM
  31. HighSchoolOT: Triton's Gaines, Rocky Mount's Gainey win NCHSAA Coach of the Year awards http://t.co/RmqzNFx4NV
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 6:50 PM
  32. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: SOFTBALL FINAL: Heritage 13, Leesville Road 3 in six innings. #hsotscores
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:42 PM
  33. HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Triton's Wendy Gaines, Rocky Mount's Michael Gainey earn Coach of the Year honors from NCHSAA http://t.co/wvvqfpSzOJ
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:18 PM
  34. HighSchoolOT: RT @rhsramsftball: Just in case you missed it last night! http://t.co/nMZlMlcdCY #HSOTJamboree
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:54 PM
  35. HighSchoolOT: Profiles of each team in the #HSOTJamboree are here: http://t.co/LKmVWgFDjJ
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:09 AM
  36. HighSchoolOT: You can watch the #HSOTJamboree Announcement Show hosted by @NickStevensHSOT here: http://t.co/EElg5ioPDO
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:08 AM
  37. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI the field &amp; schedule for the #HSOTJamboree was released last night. It's pretty good too: http://t.co/arheLPGqpO
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:07 AM
  38. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: For those asking about teams not in #HSOTJamboree, several were invited but had already committed to other events. Oth…
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:04 AM
  39. HighSchoolOT: We hope you enjoyed tonight's #HSOTJamboree announcement. Let us know what you think about the match-ups. Which are you looking forward to?
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:36 PM
  40. HighSchoolOT: RT @Brian_Allen52: We got lee county in the #HSOTJamboree
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:21 PM
HighSchoolOT Forums
More HighSchoolOT Forums