Girl can suit up, play in boy’s tourney

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Just when it looked like she wouldn’t be able to play, a youth basketball organization has made a 180-degree move.

“We’ve decided to go ahead and allow them to make an exception this year and allow them to play in the tournament,” said Joseph Jaramillo with New Mexico Select.

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Jaelyn Bates, the girl who was told she couldn’t hit the hardwood with the boys, will be able to suit up and play in an upcoming boy’s tournament.

This week, KRQE News 13 told viewers New Mexico Select, a youth basketball organization, was refusing to allow Jaelyn to play, saying it’s the tournament’s rule. Girls have played before, but Jaramillo, the organization’s director, had said the rule was being enforced because of parent complaints.

Her team said they wouldn’t play without her and the girl with the undeniable talent wasn’t going to just sit this tourney out.

The story got national attention and created a big divide locally.

Jaelyn’s parents filed an injunction calling it a civil rights violation Friday, a fight the organization never saw coming.

“You know, we’ve been doing this for 10 years and we’ve never had this happen before,” Jaramillo said.

But before the passionate player stepped foot inside a courtroom, the organization told KRQE News 13 on Saturday she can play.

They say after all the buzz, they were worried the tournament would be in jeopardy.

“You know, we do stand and hold to our rules and we believe they’re good rules, but the truth is, as we move forward, this issue has caused a major divide in the community,” Jaramillo said.

Jaelyn’s father said all week she just wants to play basketball.

“She has the love of the game inside,” Barry Bates said. “I mean, it’s hard to explain.”

Jaramillo says they will take a look at their rules for future tournaments, but they do follow national guidelines.

The 10th annual “Salsa Slam” is set for April 25-27.

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