Just in case you don't spend significant time taking note of the latest trends in high school sartorial splendor -- and statistically, most of the readers in this blog can't possibly fall into that category -- then you should be informed that there's a burgeoning new practice of girls wearing feathers in their hair. Some might blame Ke$ha for the practice. Miley Cyrus and fellow teen queen Selena Gomez have sported them. So has Drew Barrymore, as you can see below. Heck, even Steven Tyler has supported the hair feather team.
With all that celebrity hype in mind, perhaps it isn't surprising that feathers woven into hair are starting to pop up all over American high schools. Where that becomes an interesting proposition is when it interferes with existing uniform standards for scholar athletes, like volleyball players in Texas, for instance.
As pointed out by the Dallas Morning News, Texas' governing body for school sports, the University Interscholastic League, found the issue to be troublesome enough that it deemed it necessary to rule on whether or not a player could legally wear a hair feather during a game. The verdict was that she could, but only if it attached to a wearer's hair correctly.
Don't worry if you're confused. We'll let UIL's official announcement about hair feathers clear everything up here.
The question has arisen as to whether or not the wearing of a feather(s) in the hair would be in compliance with NFHS Volleyball Rules 4-1-5 and 4-1-6. First, the feather must meet all the material and dimension requirements in 4-1-5. If requirements are met, the feather could be worn if it is affixed to the hair by braiding or woven method. It may be worn if affixed by a soft yielding material. However, if the feather(s) is attached with a hard, unyielding or metal material it would not meet the requirements in 4-1-5 or 4-1- 6. The metal would be similar to jewelry and is not of a soft material.
Essentially, rules 4-1-5 and 4-1-6 say that an athlete may not wear jewelry during a sporting event, an regulation which was instituted to keep athletes from accidentally harming one another with metallic adornments.
By pushing regulation of hair feathers on to those standards, the UIL is saying that they are considered a piece of jewelry (or at least equivalent to a piece of jewelry) if they are attached by a metal clip, since the metal clip could do damage. Conversely, if they're woven into the hair itself, then the feathers aren't seen as a health risk and are not considered a piece of jewelry.
If that still doesn't make sense to you, well, then you're probably not a teenage girl. That's ok. All you need to know is that if you live in Texas and your local high school's star setter looks like she was trapped in an osprey's nest at some point earlier that day, she can still compete, provided she's metal free.