Too good to play? Rogers basketball team kicked out of league

Jason Hanauska found out Friday his high school team with Rogers Area Youth Basketball Association (RAYBA) was kicked out of their own league.

“We found out on Friday they were not going to be allowed because according to the league our girls were too talented,” Hanauska said.

Their winning streak was cut short ahead of this weekend's 3-on-3 tournament.

“This is absurd," one mom said.

Sherri Palmgren and other basketball moms got a letter from the head of their association with this statement:

“Three teams were threatening to I guess either forfeit the games against us or flat out quit the league," Hanauska said."So for some reason they kicked us out.” 

The letter arrived a day before the girls were expected to play in what's deemed a showcase tournament.

“If we had any talent in the league, this is where we would've found out and that's what really makes us mad.” Hanauska said.

“Are we supposed to play worse just to make them happy?” one player asked.

“It makes me really sad because I haven't been able to play high school for two years because I did get cut when I tried and I found this as one last opportunity because I will never be able to play basketball again since I'm a senior," one player said.

The Northwest Suburban League couldn't be reached by phone or e-mail for comment. Fox 9 stopped by the tournament the girls missed out on and the league’s coordinator didn’t provide any answers. Coach Hanauska is meeting with the league’s board on Monday.

Northwest Suburban Basketball League (Jan. 26) 

The Northwest Suburban Basketball League (NWSBL) is a volunteer‐based, ‘house’ basketball league
representing Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Dayton, Fridley, Maple Grove, and Osseo
serving nearly 2000 youth basketball players ages 11 to 18. For more than 20 years, the NWSBL has been
committed to supporting the development and growth of youth basketball in the northwest metro area,
and the organization remains steadfast in that effort.

The Rogers Area Youth Basketball Association (RAYBA) asked to join the NWSBL program this season and
the NWSBL agreed to a trial participation for the 2015‐2016 season, as per standard league procedure
for new teams. As part of the trial participation, the RAYBA senior high girls team agreed to adopt and
abide by the rules and by‐laws that have enabled the NWSBL to become one of the most successful
house leagues in Minnesota. The by‐laws govern issues such as maximum number of team members, as
well as the make‐up of the team to include varying ages and abilities. These established by‐laws are in
place to encourage strong participation, skill building and healthy competition.

The NWSBL committee recently made a decision regarding the dismissal of this particular RAYBA senior
high girls team. The decision was based on careful evaluation of the team’s non‐compliance with league
rules, as well as violations of the NWSBL code of conduct. The RAYBA team was given several
opportunities to correct the violations, but had declined to do so. The NWSBL therefore moved to
dismiss the RAYBA team from further league play.

The NWSBL acknowledges breakdowns in communication as these events unfolded, and apologizes for
any unintended consequences affecting the RAYBA organization, the players and their families.
At a NWSBL Committee meeting held on Monday, January 25, 2016, the committee opened their
agenda to include an opportunity to hear from RAYBA coach Jason Hanauska and parents from the

RAYBA team to better understand all points of view.

The NWSBL is committed to continued discussion with RAYBA and is confident this matter will be
positively resolved quickly.

Rogers Area Youth Basketball statement (Jan. 25)

Over the past several days, a tremendous amount of misinformation has been circulated related to a
RAYB  sanctioned high school team and the decision of the Northwest Suburban Basketball League (NWSBL) to temporarily suspend their participation. In an effort to clear up confusion and also to work toward a potential solution, RAYBA would like to share the following pieces of information:

1. The NWSBL is an independent league, run by volunteers, that offers the youth of the northwest
suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul the opportunity to participate in an organized form of
recreational/”house” basketball. This league has been in existence for several years and until this
year, RAYBA had never entered a team in this independent league.

2. Due to facility constraints and the lack of participants, RAYBA has never before been able to offer
a place for our high school aged girls to play. This year, in an effort to assist interested young
ladies in participating, the RAYBA board reached out to the NWSBL to inquire about entering
one or more teams into their league. The NWSBL agreed to allow RAYBA to field teams and
participate in their league.

3. The NWSBL informed our board that the other teams entered to participate in the league were
composed of multiple teams from each of the other communities, with their most talented players
dispersed equally between their community teams (through a draft process).

4. RAYBA had a total of 14 young ladies express an interest in participating.

5. RAYBA asked the 14 young ladies if they would split into two equal teams, comprised of seven
players each. The decision from the participants was that they would prefer to play together on
one team. This was communicated back to the NWSBL including the fact that the team was
comprised of 11 seniors prior to the start of the season.

6. The RAYBA team was allowed to participate in the first games on January 3, 2016.

7. After the first two weekends of play, it was evident to all that the team that RAYBA sent to the
NWSBL was comprised of players who exhibited talent beyond the other teams in the league.

8. On Wednesday January 20th, the NWSBL reached out to RAYBA and informed the board that
other teams in the NWSBL league did not believe that the level of skill and ability demonstrated
by the RAYBA team was consistent with the skills and abilities of the other teams.

9. In an effort to find a solution to the inequities between the other “balanced” community teams and
the one RAYBA team, a meeting was scheduled for January 25, 2016 to find common ground and
a reasonable solution.

10. On January 23, 2016, a local media outlet was invited to attend an event sanctioned by the
NWSBL. RAYBA did not participate in nor did the board authorize the media involvement.
During this event, it was reported that the RAYBA team was “kicked out of the league for being
too good.”

To be absolutely clear, the RAYBA team was not “kicked out” or dismissed from playing by RAYBA or any of the RAYBA volunteer board members.

The meeting scheduled to address this was to be held privately with the NWSBL so as to find a reasonable compromise for all parties, with the hope of our girls being able to participate for the balance of the NWSBL season. We support this team and in no way are we cutting ties with them. We will find ways for them to continue playing the game they love.

The mission of RAYBA has been, and will continue to be the serving of our 1100 youth basketball players and their families. RAYBA asks that any interested parties research the facts of this story before passing judgment.