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."
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.
The WNBA urges the Alabama High School Athletic Association to reinstate Maori Davenport. Let her play the rest of her senior season instead of being penalized for an honest mistake made by others. https://t.co/CVgHNSqVAZ
- WNBA (@WNBA) January 4, 2019
How is this even fair?? She shouldn't pay for someone else's mistake. This is CRAZY!!!! https://t.co/5xvvdi6WHE
- Chris Paul (@CP3) January 4, 2019
Never take basketball away from a kid. Let her play.
- Spalding (@Spalding) January 4, 2019
Thoughts on Maori Davenport:
1. Clerical mistake was made, admittedly, by @usabasketball 2. She repaid 850 dollars 3. Two other HS players reinstated 4. SHE WAS REPRESENTING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! ������Do yourself a favor, @AHSAA & do right. ���� https://t.co/NvlRX0YwqS
- Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) January 6, 2019
The Alabama High School Athletic Association should be embarrassed and, frankly, ashamed of itself over this ruling. The AHSAA acts as if the players exist for the AHSAA, and not the other way around. Just awful. Maori Davenport did NOTHING WRONG. @AHSAA_hoops https://t.co/OCKBY1S1Iv
- Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 4, 2019
@JayBilas seriously I just can't! Smdh
- Swin Cash (@SwinCash) January 4, 2019
Have you heard about Maori Davenport? She's a high schooler who won a gold medal playing for the United States & as a direct result of her involvement with USA Basketball, Alabama's amateur athletic system is taking her senior season away from her. INSANE.https://t.co/gkiUl5rmci
- Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 6, 2019
It's sad that the ASHAA going to sit Maori Davenport out this season. ����♂️ #����PleaseLetHerHoop�� pic.twitter.com/DoOcbGBZ8n
- ReggieEvans30 (@ReggieEvans30) January 5, 2019
"Amateur" sports in the US are broken.
Stories like this are absolutely maddening⤵️
"coach Dyneshia Jones told [Maori] Davenport that she had been ruled ineligible for the rest of her senior season. At issue was a stipend check for $857.20 sent to Davenport by USA Basketball." https://t.co/DJrVZ8uScj
- Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) January 4, 2019
This is ridiculous. Cmon AHSAA �� https://t.co/GdOP1mQkLz
- Sue Bird (@S10Bird) January 5, 2019
Patently unfair. Rutgers recruit Maori Davenport on her lost senior season -- 'It hasn't gotten any easier' https://t.co/5QbMqW6aEX
- Branford Marsalis (@bmarsalis) January 4, 2019
this is absolutely RIDICULOUS! Davenport has done NOTHING wrong and even tried to fix an error that wasn't her fault... yet @AHSAAUpdates is still taking away her senior year. smh. https://t.co/Rr2FzRWZYY
- Natalie Achonwa (@NatAchon) January 4, 2019
Has Maori Davenport been reinstated by the Alabama High School Athletic Association yet?
- brian agler (@brian_agler) January 4, 2019
People with absolute power suck.
Give the money back or to charity, problem solved. Ridiculous. https://t.co/an7hBBFLQl
- Rex Chapman���� (@rex_rexchapman) January 4, 2019
As I prepare & the excitement builds for our conference game today I can only imagine the emptiness Maori Davenport feels every time her team suits up to play. AL state officials if you all have heart in your chest or a daughter, sister or niece...do right by them if not Maori! https://t.co/kkCkKThDZ5
- dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) January 6, 2019
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?"