Outrage grows as high school golfer Emily Nash gets no relief from Massachusetts rules committee

In this Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, photo, Lunenburg High School's Emily Nash tees off during the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys' golf tournament at Blissful Meadows in Uxbridge, Mass. Nash, who had the best score at a boys' golf tournament in Massachusetts, has been denied the trophy because she's a girl. The tournament director tells The Telegram & Gazette he made Nash aware of the rule before the tournament began. (Christine Peterson/Worcester Telegram & Gazette via AP) Christine Peterson/Worcester Telegram & Gazette via AP

Outrage grows as high school golfer Emily Nash gets no relief from Massachusetts rules committee

Golf

Outrage grows as high school golfer Emily Nash gets no relief from Massachusetts rules committee

The story of Emily Nash, who won the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys’ golf tournament but was denied a trophy because she was a girl, has gained serious traction in the golfing community.

Among the notables not happy with the decision:

Thursday, two days after her victory, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) released the following statement reaffirming its rule that denied Nash her rightful prize:

The MIAA and its member schools congratulate all golfers on their performance at the recent fall sectional team golf tournament. In particular, the skill of the female golfer from Lunenburg was on display as she represented her personal ability and effort on behalf of the Lunenburg High School Boys Golf Team. The MIAA is proud to have her and her teammates participate and represent the 230,000+ student-athletes in our schools.

The MIAA Golf Committee, with a membership of school representatives from each district in the state, has worked over the years to establish and manage both a boys and girls golf tournament. In the case of golf, these tournaments exist in two different seasons. The boys team and individual tournament has taken place in the fall and the girls team and individual tournament has taken place in the spring. During a sectional tournament round of golf, a golfer’s score is submitted for both an individual and team competition at each location.

To offer an opportunity for team play to all MIAA member school students, female golfers have been welcomed to participate on a boys team in the fall if their school did not sponsor a girls golf team in the spring. Approximately 26 female golfers participated in 2017 fall boys golf tournaments. This opportunity has been met positively by many student-athletes and school programs. Given this team opportunity during the fall tournament season, it has been clear to participants that female golfers playing in the fall boys team tournament are not participating in an individual capacity. The individual tournament opportunity for female golfers takes place during the spring season. As stated in the official MIAA 2017 Fall Golf format, “Girls playing on a fall boys team cannot be entered in the boys fall individual tournament. They can only play in the boys team tournament. If qualified, they can play in the spring Girls Sectional and State Championships.”

We congratulate Lunenburg’s female golfer on her performance and wish her continued success as she participates once again in the MIAA Girls Individual Golf Tournament in the spring of 2018.

Well, that clears it up.

Not so much.

For one, her name is “Emily Nash” and not “Lunenburg’s female golfer.”

But this sort of thing is typical for the MIAA, which carries a notorious reputation in the Bay State for an lacking common sense on multiple occasions.

Nash shot a 75 and beat Nico Ciolino by 4 strokes. She played from the same tees.  She did not receive a first-place trophy because of an MIAA rule prohibiting girls from entering the boys’ individual competition. Even worse, she will not be invited to the state championship next week.

The tournament director says Nash and her coach were aware of the rule ahead of time. Nash and her father say she was not.

Her school, Lunenburg High School, does not have a girls golf team in the fall and the Lunenburg ‘boys’ team did not make the state tournament.  Ciolino, meanwhile, offered his trophy to Nash, but she declined.

She’s far too good for anything with the MIAA’s name on it.

 

 

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