There’s lots of chatter about a high school tournament in Massachusetts where Emily Nash, a junior, played in the Boys Team Championship and ended up winning the individual title. However, the MIAA rules state that it’s OK for a girl to play on the boy’s team in the team competition but she isn’t eligible for the individual trophy.
Based on what I’ve been reading, it looks like the jury is pretty evenly split on this one, although almost everyone is condemning the MIAA for something. Some say Nash should be allowed to accept the individual title since she beat all the boys by at least four shots. Others point out that boys can’t play in the girl’s tournament which is held in the spring, so girls shouldn’t get to play in the boy’s event.
This was clearly a dog’s breakfast from the get-go and it sounds like a dumb rule was to blame. I’d suggest keeping the two competitions strictly separate but if you do let girls compete in the boy’s event, then you have to go all the way and let them win too.
I remember playing in a club championship about a decade ago. After two rounds, one of the juniors was leading and some members tried to say that he couldn’t win the trophy because he had paid much lower dues than the adult members. I think everyone in the field rejected that notion and threatened to quit if a different rule was applied to the junior. He ultimately won.
The bottom line then, as it should have been in Massachusetts, is that once you allow players into a tournament, as long as they compete on an equal basis, then they should all be eligible to win the title.