CLEVELAND (AP) _ A high school diver who was bumped from state tournament contention in a flap over her flag-decorated swimsuit will be allowed to compete after all, a judge ruled.
Common Pleas Judge Thomas J. Pokorny ruled Tuesday that junior Teresa Deak should be able to compete in Thursday’s state tournament since a lawsuit she filed over her diving attire is pending.
The diving judges who had disqualified Deak during a meet Feb. 14 had said her swimsuit’s design, a collage of flags from various countries, broke Ohio High School Athletic Association rules that limit the size and number of logos and other decorations on school uniforms.
Deak was in third place after completing five of 11 dives when she was disqualified. She sued for a spot in the state finals.
The uniform rules are meant to avoid the over-commercialization of student athletes, said Steve Craig, the athletic association’s lawyer. He said he wasn’t sure whether the group would appeal.
None of the nine district qualifiers will be bumped to make room for Deak during the tournament.
Deak, who attends a private Catholic girls’ school in Rocky River, a Cleveland suburb, said her swimsuit wasn’t an attempt to challenge the rules. She said she wanted to be patriotic after the events of Sept. 11 and also to honor the athletes of the Winter Olympics.
``I liked the suit, and I wanted to wear it because it was patriotic and it was a fun suit,″ she said. For the state meet, she said, she planned to wear solid black.