Oak Bay High school junior girls basketball team will play at provincials after all.
The B.C. School Sports commission has reversed its earlier decision disallowing the girls’s team to compete because of a clerical error made by coach Richard Fast. Fast omitted the girls’ uniform numbers and height in the registration and sent it in two days after the Jan. 15 deadline. He also sent the registration and late fees 10 days late.
Parent Jennifer Walinga said in an email to the News that the school will pay a $500 fine instead, which will be used as an athletic scholarship. The team selected to replace Oak Bay, Nanaimo’s Mark Isfeld Secondary school will also be allowed to play.
Provincials start Feb. 26.
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Despite qualifying for provincials, the Oak Bay High junior girls basketball team is being shut out due to a clerical error.
Oak Bay High athletic coach Richard Fast said he mistakenly sent an incomplete registration form to B.C. School Sports, two days after the Jan. 15 deadline. Missing from the form were the girls’ height and uniform numbers, which he quickly rectified. He also missed paying the Feb. 1 $90 fee ($15 regular fee plus $75 late fee), submitting it 10 days later.
Fast said it is unfair to punish the girls for a mistake he made.
“I definitely missed their deadlines,” Fast said. “But why punish the girls for my clerical error? In the school system it’s educate first and athletics second. This is not a penal system, it’s an educational system. We should be educating the girls about making mistakes, not punishing them.”
Fast said he missed the deadlines due to having a lot on his plate and would prefer an alternative punishment, but the request has fallen on deaf ears. The executive council voted 9-0 not to allow the team to attend. An appeal was made, but denied 2-0, with one voting member not showing up to the appeal.
“I’m very frustrated and feel sick to my stomach,” Fast said. “I thought there would be some compassion, sympathy … Why would they jeopardize this opportunity for these girls to represent their school?”
Parent Jennifer Walinga’s daughter plays on the Oak Bay team and she too, is frustrated.
“These kids are only 14 and it’s not like they have anything to do with this,” Walinga said. “The model in education is restitution not retribution.”
She said a more suitable punishment would be paying a $2,000 fine, Oak Bay hosting more tournaments or anything else but banning the girls.
“We get it,” Walinga said about the error. “We want an alternative punishment, but Brett (Westcott, B.C. School Sports commissioner and president) said, ‘We’ve done it before so we can’t let you get away with this.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, you’ve hurt kids before?’”
Fast, however, continued to work toward a last-minute resolution. “I am hopeful,” he said.
The Oak Bay team won the Vancouver Island junior championships on Friday, beating the Nanaimo Dover Bay Dolphins.
Mark Isfeld Secondary school is scheduled to replace Oak Bay in the provincials, which start Feb. 26.
Calls to Westcott were not returned by the News’ deadline.