Hair Regulations Changed After Black Softball Player Was Forced To Cut Hair

Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The national rules for softball player’s hair were changed months after a Black softball player in North Carolina was forced to cut her braids during a game. 

The National Federation of High School Sports got rid of language from one of its rules which previously banned hard items to hold hair in place, including hair beads, according to a report by The Charlotte Observer. Head coverings worn for religious reasons will also no longer require state approval for high school athletes with the changes. 

The changes to hair regulations come months after 16-year-old Nicole Pyles of Hillside High School in Durham was made to cut her hair or leave the April 19 softball game against cross-town rival Jordan High School. Following two umpires’ ultimatum, Pyles’ teammates snipped her braids to remove the beads at the end so that she could keep playing in the game. 

At the time, Pyles said she felt “disrespected and humiliated” and said that the experience was unfair. 

“I truly felt like in my heart that it was not a choice … That’s my team so I will stand by them no matter what,” Pyles told ABC News in April.

Under the guidelines, head coverings worn for medical reasons will still have to be approved by state associations.

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