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High School Team Covers Up ‘Equality’ NOB to Avoid Technical Foul

The boys’ basketball team at Chattanooga Prep, a Tennessee high school, has worn “Equality” as a team-wide NOB this season (above left). But when the team played its first-round game in the state championship tournament yesterday — the first state tourney game in the school’s history — they had the word covered up by white tape (above right).

Why? Per National Federation of State High School Associations rules, only a school name, school nickname, school initials, or player’s name can appear above the rear uni number. Anything else is a uniform violation punishable by a technical foul, which allows the opposing team to begin the game with two free throws.

According to The TennesseanChattanooga Prep has been hit with technical fouls at least four times this season for wearing the “Equality” message. Their coach, Christoffer Collins, was willing to do that during the regular season but didn’t want to risk giving away points for the team’s first appearance in the state tourney, so he broke out the cover-up tape.

The taped-over NOBs made for an odd look on the court. Here are some good rear-view photos, followed by some video:

Chattanooga Prep won, 57-49. Ironically, the opposing coach said the turning point of the game was when his team was assessed a technical foul.

Comments (28)

    It’s kind of ironic that the cover-up has drawn more attention to their message than the original NOBs did. The Streisand Effect wins again!

    The right thing to do would be for the opposing team to intentionally miss the free throws in solidarity with the message of equality. Another idea would be the refs ignoring a stupid rule and not calling a foul.

    Not looking to be argumentative, but it’s doubtful officials would be willing to ignore a “stupid rule” in a state tournament. They don’t get to make the rules, but are left to enforce them. Good way for the officials to get benched for the rest of the tournament, when some administrator asks them “what other rules do you intend to ignore?”

    Yep, rules are rules. A few years ago, my alma mater was the home team but brought their light blue uniforms. Even though they were playing a team clad in orange so there was plenty of clash, the rules then stated that one team had to be in white. No tip-off, opponent started the game at the free throw looking shooting techincal

    You do live in the United States, right? If so, you should know the answer to that question.

    Not really. It’s a very broad concept, which even in a civil-right context could mean a dozen different things. If the team doesn’t mean anything more specific that that, then it’s an inane sentiment. If they do, then out with which.

    What happens if the tape comes off at some point? Do they get a technical for the message?

    I wonder if it would have led to additional technical fouls later on for some kind of “noncompliance” if they didn’t change unis or cover the name up after being assessed an initial technical. I understand the coach’s competitive nature not wanting to surrender any unnecessary points, but 2 free throws? It’s hardly worth enforcing this rule at all. Not that I want the penalty to be more harsh, it’s just the kind of penalty that pretty much any team could justify based on whether they believe themselves to be a better or worse team. Either 2 points won’t help them win or won’t cause them to lose. Particularly if they are playing for a cause and have that motivation.

    I didn’t look into it, but is this game played in a state where there is no shot clock and the FINAL score could be 4-2?

    Maybe the players should have all changed their names to Equality. Seriously though, I wonder if there are any teams that have a makers mark above the numbers. What happens then?

    Not sure exactly in basketball, but I coach track and cross country and the rule is one maker’s mark per garment, no larger than two square inches

    Some of the ppl in charge of rules and enforcement in XC and T&F in some states are some of the worst people ever for DQing elite athletes for stupid (unfair) rules after the fact/race/regular season.

    Apparently the coach decided that a win in the state championship tourney was more important than the message of equality. Imagine if they would have lost a game in the regular season due to a technical foul and missed the tourney?

    How about we just play sports? There’s enough BS politics everywhere else.

    Without discussing BS politics, we’d still only have white players in the Big 4 major leagues and we wouldn’t have Jackie Robinson Day.

    It might or might not be, depending on what it’s hinting at. But it’s a very slender middle ground indeed between an interpretation that isn’t either a) arguably “BS politics” or b) simply inane.

    It’s definitely not sports. An NOB is sports. A Slogan on Back [sob] isn’t.

    The rules are petty… but they are the rules. If you don’t like them, change them. Otherwise live with the consequences.

    Agree! Equality of what? Huge difference between Equality of outcome or Equality of opportunities!

    The rule seems specifically designed to discourage the message. I mean, what other kind of words would appear above the back number in 2023?

    I think it is funny, the same way it is funny for the University of Iowa. You know there is more than on player that sits on the bench for most of the game and definitely doesn’t have “equality” in his playing time!

    Usually once a game starts, I’m not paying attention to “the message” nor do I care about it. I’m there to watch the game. When the message starts taking precedent over the game, I usually tune out.

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