UPDATED-Disqualified Illinois Wrestling Star Appeals to IHSA
Here's the recent update according to Change.org:
"The appeal meeting has happened. The IHSA has revoked its decision to disqualify Val; she will get to wrestle in the IHSA girls state championship! Thank you all for the support!"
According to Change.org, "the IHSA has notified Val’s school that they are granting an emergency appeal hearing for Thursday, February 23rd @ 2:30."
You can sign the petition to show support for this Illinois wrestler who's been disqualified and removed from competing in the 2nd inaugural IHSA Girls Wrestling championship,
Some background on Valerie Hamilton
According to the petition, Valerie Hamilton (El Paso-Gridley) is ranked #1 in the country at 138. She wanted to wrestle in the Illinois state series to compete against the current #2 girl in the country at 145, and she opted to go up a weight class to face the best.
Michael Hamilton, Valerie's father, contacted IHSA on January 24, 2023, asking about Valerie's participation and was upfront about her having competed at other events prior. He was granted permission for her to participate in the high school wrestling team.
IHSA Disqualifies Hamilton
After competing and placing first at sectionals, the IHSA informed the Hamiltons that she was disqualified for having competed against "collegiate-level athletes" at a tournament open.
The IHSA director has cited bylaw 3.105:
Students or teams at member schools shall not be permitted to participate on, practice with or compete against any college, junior college, or university athletic team. This restriction shall apply in all situations, regardless of the competitive structure or sponsor of the competing entities for such events.
The Argument For Valerie
The petition goes on to argue, that this bylaw pertains to all 365 calendar days for all disciplines of athletics with collegiate athletes. Using this logic, any Illinois high school athlete would be barred if they practice with, go to a camp/clinic with, or compete against on a local, national, or international level against collegiate athletes.
Seems like the IHSA's actions are inconsistent, as they are using this against Val while allowing others in similar situations to still compete.
Call for Support People can show their support for Val by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you think the IHSA is in the right? Here are some words of support for Val on the Change.org petition site:
"To disqualify an athlete for seeking to better themself is hurting the athlete and the sport." -Ashley Smith
"Illinois is making a complete mistake and a massive step back as a wrestling state and it shows why all the elite talent they have choose to leave the state when they go to college" -Jake boulet
"I’m a college wrestler and I can’t believe this! Let her wrestle!! Horrible rules and why prevent high school athletes from improving?!!" -Emma Heslin
"No State should be holding there athletes back from bettering there self by trying to get better competition. Freestyle is a different sport then Folkstyle. Illinois should want to grow the sport of wrestling, not hold there athletes back" -Jeremy Amy
"She deserves to wrestle like the beast she is." -Landa McNeely
"This needs to be handled equally. If Val can’t then all the others can’t. This rule will take priceless athletic opportunities away from athletes which os a shame. I grew up in Illinois and this state on all levels has become more crooked and one sided than ever. Good luck Val! We will be watching for you on the podium" -Susan Carter
"I am a wrestling Mom! This is a ridiculous ruling and we have to stand up for our wrestlers." -Jessica Riley
"I'm awe struck by the stupidity that is keeping Val out of high-school states. She literally went and wrestled toughest competition she had access to, trying to help herself be the best she can be with eyes beyond high-school of world titles and Olympic dreams. This bi law is flawed and must be changed tomorrow. You have any idea how many boys are "guilty" of this?" -Jason Hunt
"Give'm Hell Kid" -Adam Duller