(c) 1995 Associated Press
MIAMI (Dec 11, 1995 - 01:00 EST) -- A girls' cross country team
was disqualified from a third-place finish because a referee and a
group that regulates high school sports ruled the girls' running shorts
were too risque.
"We were so happy after we crossed the finish line, then
when they told us we were disqualified we started crying," said Lissette
Perez, a sophomore at Miami Gulliver Prep School.
The team placed third in a two-mile race at a state meet Nov.
18 in Jacksonville. The Florida High School Activities Association permits girls to
wear briefs for competition, but requires that they not be "abbreviated,"
meaning high cut, or French cut.
A deputy commissioner with the association, Ron Allen, and a referee for the meet, Jim Donovan, ruled that the briefs were high-cut. Lissette's father, Luis Perez, called The Miami Herald on Thursday
to protest. The Herald published the story Sunday.
Many female runners prefer the tight briefs to regular running
shorts, which flap and bunch up. The Gulliver team wears briefs similar
to those worn by American Olympic stars Jackie Joyner-Kersee and
Gail Devers. The Gulliver coach, Karen Calloway, said that she ordered the
briefs from an athletic apparel manufacturer and that the girls have
worn them all season with no complaints.
The Herald reported that on the day of the meet, Allen asked a
spectator if he would allow his daughter to wear such things.
"As a matter of fact she's wearing them right now,"
replied Luis Perez. Perez said that Allen then asked him, "'What if they were
white? Their private parts might show."' Perez said: "I asked him
if he was there to watch the race or to watch private parts."
When asked later about the ruling, Allen told The Herald: "We're talking about high school kids. Those briefs don't look appropriate. And they may lend an advantage to a runner." He did not explain what kind of advantage.
Allen, Perez and Donovan could not be reached for comment Sunday.
The activities association regulates all extracurricular high
school activities, including sports and bands and is run by principals
ęCopyright 1996 by Jan Meyer.