New York's Jewelry Prohibition Lifted Effective Immediately

It had been the most prohibitive restriction in the entire country. And now it's gone.

At the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, New York athletics has voted to move to the guidelines of the National Governing Bodies in regards to Jewelry adornments, forgoing their previous restrictions specific to New York State.

For Track and Field, that guidance falls to the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS).

Written in 2014, the new guidelines state,

4-3-3, 9-6-3: The prohibition of wearing jewelry has been removed from the rules for track and field and cross country competition. As in previous years, the wearing of a medical alert with the alert visible continues and is encouraged for purposes of risk minimization.

Rationale: The prohibition of jewelry is not necessary in track and field and cross country. The wearing of jewelry ordinarily presents little risk of injury to either the competitor or opponents. Elimination of the rule allows officials to focus on meet administration directly related to competition.  Coaches continue to have the obligation to see that competitors are properly equipped. 

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Prior to this move, all jewelry had to be taped down, or removed, including earrings, bracelets, and neck chains. This ruling also includes  GPS watches in Cross Country, which had already been allowed prior due to the difficulty in enforcement.

For many, this change reflected the rules utilized in post-season meets, under the auspices of USATF sanctions. Track and Field athletes are allowed to wear jewelry at the College and Professional level.

Jewelry had been the root of an issue this past spring, in which the rule came under scrutiny for preventing hairbeads, while allowing hair ribbons. Some thought the rule was 'racially imbalanced,' and NYSPHSAA went into executive session to remedy the situation.

This rule change may have been informed by that situation, but was largely due to an effort to bring all sports in compliance across the board. Gymnastics was cited as another sport with specialty exceptions, in addition to watches in Cross Country.

Read the full proposal below, which was approved on Wednesday.