CLOVIS, California (KSEE) – Clarification from Clovis Unified following a swimsuit controversy.
It all started last week, that’s when water polo players – both boys and girls – say they were told to cover up immediately after getting out of the pool.
But the district says there’s been miscommunication.
On Tuesday, the district implemented a program “Fix That Suit” to make sure all students comply with the rules.
“We want our kids to have a positive experience in the water and we do not what them to get penalties from CIF refs which is a potential consequence for this,” says Kelly Avants with Clovis Unified School District.
The district sent out this letter to parents to clarify they say the confusion about water polo athletes covering up when out of the pool.
“We have as a district set a standard and an expectation that the rules are followed and the rules are not Clovis Unified rules they’re CIF and the National Federation High School rules for swimsuits in aquatic programs on high school campuses,” she added.
Avants says at the district level they never told any players they had to wear shorts but says they believe the directive came from athletic directors.
The district sent out a letter clarifying what’s expected for students to follow state guidelines.
“That could take the form of many different things, it can take the form of wearing shorts after the game, towel, cover-up, jackets, anyone that watches water polo sees the different options that are available,” Avants explained.
We’re told some parents believe this issue has more to do with the female athletes than the male athletes. We’re told over the years the cut of a swimsuit has gotten higher for female swimsuits in order for the players to kick better.
But the CIF State Director says they have to follow the national standards.
“We follow the NFHS guidelines so for the sport of water polo it’s NFHS rule 2.4 under apparel and what it says is that boys and girls shall wear suits that completely cover the buttocks and breast when they’re playing or on the deck,” says Bobbi Madsen, state director for California Interscholastic Federation.
CIF emailed the following information:
“NFHS Rule 2‐4 Apparel : ART. 1 . . . Players shall wear non‐transparent, one‐piece competitive swimsuits. Boys shall wear suits which completely cover the buttocks. Girls shall wear suits which completely cover the buttocks and breasts. The girls’ suit shall have a solid high back with broad straps. The use of the term solid back does not preclude the use of a zipper in the field player’s suit. The suit of the goalkeeper on the girls’ team must be a competitive one‐piece suit. There is no requirement for straps of a particular width on the goalkeeper’s suit.
ART. 7 . . . If a player’s suit does not meet the rules specifications, the player will be required to change suits. If this is not possible and if the game is played with non‐compliant suits, the referee must notify the state or district association of the offending team of the nature of the offense so that this will be corrected in the future. The state association will also assess the appropriate penalty.”
CIF says this is not new but says schools have the right to be more restrictive.
We reached out to other school districts, both Fresno and Central Unified School Districts say they comply with the same rules as well and have for years.
Central Unified released the following statement:
“Central Unified athletics program adheres to the CIF and National Federation of High School rules regarding the appropriate wearing of swimsuits for our aquatics sports.”
A few parents we spoke with did not want to go on camera but say they feel better after receiving the letter.