Women's Sports Foundation joins the battle to reinstate Maori Davenport

Davenport didn't know she broke a rule (1:48)

Alabama high school basketball player Maori Davenport tells Good Morning America that she was told she wasn't breaking a NCAA rule and hopes to get back on the court soon. (1:48)

The Women's Sports Foundation has joined the growing list of influencers to support Maori Davenport's quest to play high school basketball this season.

The organization released the following statement on Wednesday:

"We encourage the Alabama High School Athletic Association to exercise discretion in the case of Maori Davenport and reinstate her eligibility for 2019 basketball season. Universally, we believe it is the responsibility of the Women's Sports Foundation and sports governing bodies to increase girls' access to and participation in sport to reach equity at all levels. Adults in the sports community should strive to remove barriers to access for youth rather than create them, with the ultimate goal of closing the participation gap and helping every girl realize her power through the benefits of sports and physical activity."

The WSF joined the WNBA, Chris Paul, Spalding sports goods and others in Davenport's corner. The line of supporters forming behind the Rutgers women's basketball recruit goes on and on.

Davenport, the high school basketball star who helped lead the United States to a gold medal in August at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship, spent the holiday season and her 18th birthday not playing basketball.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association ruled Davenport ineligible for her senior season after the Charles Henderson High School forward/center cashed a check for $857.20 that was mistakenly sent to her by USA Basketball as a stipend for lost wages and costs associated with representing her country.

When USA Basketball realized its mistake in November, it notified school and Alabama officials. Davenport repaid the money. But the AHSAA isn't budging.

That position isn't sitting well with many.

"No young woman should have her future jeopardized because of an unintentional administrative mistake," said Bethany Donaphin, head of WNBA league operations. "When we heard Maori's story, we wanted the AHSAA to know that we disagree with its decision and to let Maori know we support her right to play."

Davenport said she turned on her phone at lunch Friday and was immediately hit with all the tweets that had mentioned her.

"I'm not the type of person to get too excited, but I did think the support gives me a better chance to make a change," Davenport said. "If the whole world -- or most of the world -- is behind you, that's good."

Here are a few who have spoken out.

Even Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer voiced her support, telling NJ Advance Media: "Maori hadn't done a doggone thing except receive the check from USA Basketball. It was grown-ups' fault. And grown-ups did not lay claim to that. Maori sent the money back the next day. She's a great kid, great student. She tried to do the right thing. And then the Alabama association ... are you kidding me? This girl was up for player of the year, All-American. How can you do that?"