Suit Fit DQ Overturned; District Seeks to Decertify Official Who Made Call

The Alaska School Activities Association has overturned the now-infamous disqualification call from last Friday over the fit of 17-year-old female student’s school-issued swimsuit, Anchorage Schoool District announced Tuesday.

The district was reviewing the call in light of allegations of sexism and racism.

“Following our review of the September 6 disqualification of a Dimond High School swimmer, to include interviews of multiple witnesses, the Anchorage School District has concluded that our swimmer was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body.  We cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind, and certainly not based on body shape.  This disqualification was heavy-handed and unnecessary,” the district wrote.

The district says with will reverse the DQ and return the voided points to the Dimond High School team. Additionally, the district seeks to revoke the certification of the official who made the call, Jill Blackstone, according to NBC affiliate KTUU. The ASAA executive director said the district “believes Blackstone has targeted Willis and her sister, a fellow teammate, in a pattern of unfair enforcement over the past year.”

Additionally, the district wants to suspend and later revise the National Federation of State High School Associations’ suit coverage rule. The district says the rule “is ambiguous and allows the potential for bias to influence officials’ decisions.”

The NFHS, the governing body for high school athletics, has standards for swimwear, recently updated for the 2019-2020 season. It states that “females shall wear suits which cover the buttocks and breasts. In August, the organization released a memo about suit coverage and circulated an illustrated example of appropriate attire.

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2 Cents
3 years ago

I have actually read a few articles about this, and looked up references to quotes to verify them, and I just want to state a few facts that have not been said (with a slight opinion afterwards)…

1) The parent who took pictures of the minor’s backside was a male/dad.
2) He did distribute them to other parents.
3) He was told (by the school Assistant Principal) that it was unacceptable behavior and to not do it again (a slap on the wrist)
“The school district said that “the assistant principal indicated to the parent who took the photographs that it was not permissible for him to take pictures of others’ children and that he should stop… Read more »

2 Cents
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

PS, looking at that illustrated example, that is cut pretty darn close to the “intergluteal cleft”. A lot closer than I assumed before actually looking at it. But there is nothing about the front of the suit… What about how much “side boob” can be exposed? It says breasts need to be covered, but how much? no diagram or illustrated example of that. My point is, this whole thing is stupid and as long as whatever is worn would not grounds for arrest on any beach, then who cares, and let it go in the pool… it is not aiding them in any kind of performance enhancing kind of manner.

justaswimmom
3 years ago

Perhaps these are good discussions to have if people can be reasonable and actually listen. I’m not from Alaska. I’ve never seen this girl’s suit, nor do I have any interest in doing so. If she was unfairly targeted that is something that needs to be dealt with. But I know I am often uncomfortable around swimmers from my club team. Sizing of suits is often tricky. Finding the right suit is hard. I know my 6’6″ very skinny with a long torso son could only find a couple of tech suits that could fit him without exposing more than he should. It was rough finding suits to fit him. But we knew it was a challenge so we worked… Read more »

mcmflyguy
3 years ago

this is as bad as the bra strap/uniform debate in gymnastics when they deduct points or disqualify them because a bra strap is showing. out dated rules need to be rewritten

Notaswimmer
3 years ago

An earlier comment mentions other women’s sports, such as volleyball, that have uniforms on the skimpy side. The fact is that no sports uniform fits everyone the same way. I know several high school girls who regretfully decided to stop participating in extra curricular sports that they loved, such as swimming and volleyball, because they were either body shamed or felt insecure or uncomfortable about their appearance.

ycnan
Reply to  Notaswimmer
3 years ago

When I started competitive swimming as a kid, I was overweight, out of shape, and depressed about leaving my old friends and moving to a new school. Swimming made me physically fit, helped me lose fat and gain muscle, and introduced me to a nice group of friends. This was a game changer in my life. 40 years later, I still swim and keep in touch with a bunch of my old swim team buddies. It infuriates me that young girls who struggle with the same issues that I did now feel unwelcome in swimming because of the body police!

jojoNV
Reply to  ycnan
3 years ago

Publicize the rule before you enforce or revoke it.

Adrien Downey
3 years ago

I’m thrilled to see this story getting the press coverage it deserves. I’m cautiously optimistic to see bold, restorative action and real consequences for this blatant profiling. Instead of pretending like these toxic interactions aren’t happening, or that there’s some ludicrous alternate explanation for this stark and simple narrative, let’s face this head-on: the official. The NFHS. They’re all complicit to some degree. If you roll your eyes at the SJW catchphrase, ‘policing women’s bodies,’ well, examine the bare facts here and explain to me how this is not literally refereeing women’s bodies. What a heartening moral to inculcate in our kids.

I hope the young lady from Dimond High School feels the overwhelming support coming from this amazing community… Read more »

NICK
Reply to  Adrien Downey
3 years ago

So no standards for swimsuits and how they are worn?

SwimMom
Reply to  NICK
3 years ago

It’s tricky – right? I think any time you are singling out one swimmer it’s going to be tough. If there had been multiple DQs of men and women, it wouldn’t appear so targeted. Any time you see a male’s butt crack or the outline of his anatomy in a small speedo are you in favor of them being DQ’d? Slippery slope once this road is ventured down.

Paradox
Reply to  SwimMom
3 years ago

I think this DQ and rule are ridiculous, full-stop. But, I also think Swimmom is right – I don’t know that we’ve progressed in our culture where everyone can just be naked in public all of the time, which means that there has to be a line. So, if you don’t want people racing naked, but you also don’t want there to be a line of decency, then you’re living in the blissful paradoxical world of internet outrage where you don’t have to solve any problems, you just get to complain about other peoples’ solutions being wrong.

To me, the correct answer would have been a warning to the coach to get it fixed before the next meet. Documented warning… Read more »

Jeepers
Reply to  NICK
3 years ago

Exactly Nick. No standards. You said it perfectly.

Jeepers
Reply to  Adrien Downey
3 years ago

Really well said!

UK official
3 years ago

I thought that it was the referee that disqualifies? The official only reports what they see.

Admin
Reply to  UK official
3 years ago

UK official – in the “US,” “official” is a generic term that incorporates judges, referees, and other on-deck rules enforcement personnel.

Swimfan
3 years ago

Say no to crack! Crack is bad. If you can see crack on a male or female it should be deemed inappropriate.so parents have no problems with showing crack but they have an issue with people spending $400 on a swimsuit.

Emma
3 years ago

you guys need to look at all the facts before you comment on the situation, I know Jill personally as I am on the Chugiak his school swim team that was swimming against diamond on Friday night. Jill is a loving sweet woman who would ever do anything to intentionally discriminate against anyone. This suit issue has been a problem for years now, and may people, including officials and parents have seen girls intentionally pull there suit up. This issue is in no way meant to be discriminatory against anyone and Jill was simply doing her job. Without Jill on the officials staff Alaska swimming will fall apart without her, she has been the one official that runs every meet… Read more »

Swammer
Reply to  Emma
3 years ago

@Emma. The issue is much more complicated than whether Jill is a loving person. The rules have to be applied fairly to all swimmers regardless. You mention other girls have intentionally pulled up their suits and how this has been a problem for years. Yet I did not read that those swimmers have been DQ’d in this manner. Why this swimmer ? The documentation in this case says that the swimmer was targeted, etc. In addition there are issues with the male or female parent/spectator who photographed the back side of the minor swimmer and disseminated it. That just creates an extra layer of hazing bullying sexualization in this case. I don’t claim that is related to the official but… Read more »

SwimMom
Reply to  Emma
3 years ago

Isn’t it a fact that the suit was the team uniform? If the swimmer was pulling it up – why wasn’t that reported? Isn’t it a fact Jill waited until after the races? Are you accusing the swimmer of pulling up the suit? Where are your facts?

NICK
Reply to  SwimMom
3 years ago

Another coach testifies that, yes, the swimsuit was intentionally worn in just such a manner: https://medium.com/@angelmock/i-am-a-former-age-group-swim-coach-in-alaska-and-have-shared-the-swimming-pool-deck-with-ms-a9b73d963f7b

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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