The Impact of Jewelry Rules on NCAA Women’s Basketball

The Impact of Jewelry Rules on NCAA Women’s Basketball

During a recent game between Notre Dame and Oregon State, freshman All-American Hannah Hidalgo was caught off guard when officials forced her to remove her nose ring in the middle of the Sweet 16 matchup. This decision came as a shock to Hidalgo, her coach, and the rest of the team, as she had been playing with the nose ring all season, including the previous NCAA tournament games.

Initially, officials told Hidalgo that she could wear the nose ring as long as she covered it up. However, after the first quarter, she was instructed to remove the nose ring entirely or sit out for the remainder of the game. Athletic trainers struggled to remove the ring, causing Hidalgo to miss a significant portion of the game, which ultimately affected her performance on the court.

The NCAA released a statement post-game citing Rule 1, Section 25, Article 7, which states that head decorations, headwear, helmets, and jewelry are illegal. According to the rule, if a player is found wearing jewelry, they must remove it at the first dead ball and cannot return until after it is removed. While this rule is clear, the specific enforcement during the game raised questions for Hidalgo and coach Ivey, especially since Hidalgo had been allowed to wear the nose ring all season.

Impact on Performance

Hidalgo’s forced absence from the court seemed to have a significant impact on her performance. She tied a season-low with 10 points and a poor field goal percentage of 4-of-17. When asked about her struggles, Hidalgo attributed it to a combination of the time spent on the bench and Oregon State’s defensive strategies. The disruption caused by Oregon State’s defense limited her shooting opportunities and ultimately affected her overall game.

Coach Scott Rueck from Oregon State expressed his confusion regarding Hidalgo’s absence during the game, crediting his team’s defense for disrupting her shots. Rueck highlighted his team’s length and discipline as key factors in limiting Hidalgo’s scoring opportunities and compared it to their success against other top shooters throughout the season.

The enforcement of jewelry rules in NCAA women’s basketball can have a significant impact on players and teams during crucial moments. The sudden removal of Hidalgo’s nose ring disrupted her performance and raised questions about the consistency of rule enforcement. Moving forward, clear communication and consistent enforcement of NCAA rules will be essential to ensuring fair play and avoiding similar controversies in the future.


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