Rules are rules.
That’s what the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association said after a viral video showed an official stopping a young boy from joining a postgame celebration on the court.
The Appleton North High School girls basketball team won a state title over the weekend, and as this video appears to show, a little boy named Jaylen tried to go on the court after a ceremony and congratulate his sister Syd.
Twitter user Nic Levy wrote: “@WIAA didn’t let Jaylen give his sister, Syd, a hug after winning the STATE! He gets excited to hug her after EVERY game. He cried”
The WIAA put out a statement on Monday, according to wbay.com:
“The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association acknowledges that the short video clip that was released on social media Sunday may be seen by the casual observer as insensitive.
“In the celebratory situations following a State championship, it is not possible for the WIAA to know the individual traditions and rituals of all the schools, teams, families and players involved.
“For the safety of all involved, we keep spectators off the playing surface. As an organization that runs large events on a regular basis, our focus is always on the safety and ‘what if’ situations that can evolve quickly and cause potential harm to innocent bystanders.
“When the WIAA staff receives advanced requests regarding special family situations or needs, we do our best to accommodate if and when possible.
“The WIAA has reached out to the family to express its regrets for any distress they may have experienced.”
Levy also tweeted a statement that said the first and foremost the focus should be on the girls team that won a state title.
“That said, Jaylen was just one of the family members that was prevented from sharing in this celebration,” that statement read. “Family members of our players traveled from as far as Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and even California to be at this momentous game and no arrangements were made to allow players to join their families. Players were forced onto the bus through the back door, families were asked to leave the building via the front and contact was prohibited.”
Levy hoped there would be a change that allowed family members to see the players after a title is won.