SIKESTON - Due to the Missouri State High School Activities Association bylaws, the Sikeston Bulldogs basketball team won't be allowed to participate in the Marion Holiday Tournament over Christmas.
The Bulldogs have been scheduled to play in the event the day after Christmas and were set to take on Cairo, Ill., at Marion High School. But the round robin event is set up for six teams with each playing five games.
"They had set it up as a six-team round robin tournament where everyone was going to play five games," said Sikeston athletic director Charlie Vickery. "But Missouri doesn't allow a six-team round robin where you can play five games. We're only allowed to play four games in a holiday tournament set up on a 16-team bracket. So therefore we just can't go because it's against the rules of the state association."
The problem wasn't brought to Vickery's attention until Marion released the schedule of the tournament a few weeks ago, which is the reason of the late notice of Sikeston's dropping out of the event.
"We weren't for sure exactly how the setup was," said Vickery. "And then when they sent us the tournament format, the five games just didn't sound right. So we started checking on what we could do. We called the state and they said no. So obviously we're not going to do anything to jeopardize our eligibility status."
If the Bulldogs unwittingly played in the tournament without checking with MSHSAA, the state department could have made Sikeston forfeit games played and banned the team from post season play.
"Several years ago Notre Dame played too many baseball games and were eliminated from the district playoffs," said Vickery. "We're not going to jeopardize anything like that."
Sikeston, currently 2-6, will now have all of Christmas break off. The team will use the time off for practice in preparation of their next scheduled game on Jan. 6 at the Field House against district opponent Fredericktown.