For years I've read the South Dakota High School Activities Association rule regarding in-season competition outside of sanctioned events and wondered if anybody ever got tripped up as a result of it.
Unfortunately for Rapid City Central and sophomore Mya Jones, I have an answer.
Jones was suspended for the remainder of the season after she played in a city league game in February.
I'm not going to argue the merits of the rule one way or another, but all I can say is that I feel utterly terrible for Jones. What a horrible way to have your season come to an end.
From what I heard, Jones got a call from a family member to come play in a city league game because the team only had four players. Knowing nothing about the rule, she headed over and played, ending her sophomore season without even knowing it.
As someone who will take any opportunity to play a game of basketball, I completely and totally understand Jones' decision. And I can also understand how she never, in a million years, would have thought it would jeopardize her season.
I don't really know why the rule is in place (concerns over money tournaments and amateurism? A competitive advantage?) but I do know that the punishment seems a little harsh to me. A game or two? OK. The whole season? Ouch.
If anybody knows what the reasoning behind the rule is, please enlighten me.
As for Mya Jones, I just want to say that I feel for you and I hope you use this as serious motivation in the offseason and come back that much hungrier next year.
Good luck. I won't be able to help but cheer for you.