Keeling Pilaro, a 13-year-old athlete, might be barred from a high school's field hockey team because he's too good.
The New York student has been playing on the all-girls team at Long Island's Southampton High School since he was 11, but a new regulation will prohibit the student from returning for another season.
The barely 5-foot tall athlete is now considered too skilled at the game to allow competitors to keep up, according to a Section XI committee, which regulates high school sports.
The boy has been deemed as "having a significant adverse effect on some of his opposing female players... the rules state he would be allowed to play if he wasn't the dominant player," FOX 5 reports.
Pilaro, who was raised in Ireland, where field hockey is a popular sport, said he didn't understand why he could no longer play with his teammates.
"The past two years they've let me play. I didn't see why I didn't have the advanced skills then but now they're there now," Pilaro told WABC.
But Pilaro's lawyer remains confident the teen will be allowed to play next season.
"The way Section XI is interpreting the rule is very broad. It really leads to the conclusion that any participation of a male athlete in any female sport would have an adverse impact," Frank Scagluso told Newsday.
At least one other lawyer said the family might have a good case because there is no boys team at the school.
"...They'll have to allow him play -- even if he is one of the better players," Joseph M. Fein, an education lawyer, told Newsday.
Still, some say the regulation make sense.
“At a certain age, it’s not fair. Boys are getting bigger and stronger. They have an advantage,” Zack Sitron, a Ward Melville High School athlete, told WCBS.
But it was ability, not age, that factored into the committee's decision.
"He feels like he's being punished for getting better,” Andrew Pilaro, the boy's father, told 1010 WINS.
An appeal hearing is scheduled for May 15, according to FOX 5.
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