A youth basketball team in Virginia was one step away from playing in a national championship -- but they were disqualified because one player is a girl.
The Charlottesville Cavaliers had won five games in a row at the National Travel Basketball Association’s annual tournament last weekend and were poised to advance when an official disqualified the team just hours before the tip.
According to tournament organizers, a new rule this season prohibits girls from playing with boys in the championships. League officials told the Cavaliers' coaches the presence of 10-year-old Kymora Johnson on the otherwise-all-boys' team disqualified them from the playoffs.
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Kymora, who had played with the Cavaliers for four years and has played at the tournament before, was devastated.
"What are we saying by saying that she can't play with the boys? Why not?" her mother, Jessica Thomas-Johnson, said.
Kymora wanted to be on a basketball team when she was just 5 years old, The Washington Post reported. Her family signed her up for an all-boys' team then because there were no girls' teams for her age group, according to the Post.
The Cavaliers may have been disqualified from the playoffs, but they still showed up -- wearing pink uniforms in silent protest of the no-girls-allowed policy.
The organizers of the tournament said in a statement they are "committed to offering equal competition opportunities to boys and girl" and will re-examine the association's policies to "ensure nothing similar happens in the future."
"I think the kids grounded the adults in this situation," said Thomas-Johnson. "I think the kids showed us, we're going to do what we know to be right."
Asked what's next, Kymora said she will keep playing on the team and go to the championships next year.
"We're going to make them change the rules," she said.