Thursday December 13, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- When there was no girl’s hockey team, Shelby Herrington was allowed to play on the boys’ team at her high school in New Hampshire.

Herrington, a junior at Bishop Brady High School in Concord, is now fighting a decision that says she needs to join a new girls’ team formed by her school and another one, Trinity of Manchester.

The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association made the decision. Its attorney, Michael Callahan, said allowing girls to play for the boys’ teams would weaken the girls’ program.

"When we allow the elite top female athletes to go over and play on the boys’ team, then that means the girls’ team is a lesser team," Callahan told WMUR-TV.

The association’s bylaws state in part that interscholastic athletics involving competition with boys and girls is "prohibited" except in those cases where the member school does not offer equivalent activities for girls. The bylaws say in these situations, girls shall be eligible to try out in any activity, and, upon becoming a member of the team, will be eligible for NHIAA sponsored competition.

Herrington’s parents filed a lawsuit in Merrimack County Superior Court petitioning a judge to let their daughter keep playing on the boys’ team.

A ruling is expected by Dec. 19. For now, Herrington has played in the Brady boys’ first three games.