Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo was forced to remove her nose ring during a Sweet 16 game. Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo was forced to remove her nose ring during a Sweet 16 game. (Awful Announcing on Twitter/X.)

There’s long been some discussion and debate about jewelry in sports, and that sometimes leads to officials asking athletes to cover exposed jewelry with a bandage or remove it before a game. However, it’s quite unusual to see that happen in the middle of a high-stakes game. That’s what happened during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball Sweet 16 clash with the Oregon State Beavers Friday, though, with star Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo sent to the bench for trainers to remove her diamond nose stud partway through the first half:

This produced a lot of discussion and criticism, especially with this taking a protracted amount of time during a key part of the game. And it came amidst talk that Hidalgo had worn this stud all season with a bandage covering it without a problem. Here’s some of that discussion:

It does seem bizarre for this to be accepted for most of the season, and not pointed out as a problem pregame, only for the officials to take issue with it during an important moment. That meant they took one of Notre Dame’s top players off the floor for an extended period of time.

Hidalgo, a freshman from Haddonfield, New Jersey, was averaging 22.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 4.6 steals in 36 minutes per game across 34 games to this point of the season. In this game, she only had 10 points and four rebounds on four-of-17 shooting. And this came in a close game, too; Oregon State led 32-31 at the half, 53-50 after three quarters, and eventually won 70-65. Expect to see lots more nose ring discussion after this game.

Update: Here’s a photo after Notre Dame’s Dec. 17, 2023 game against the Purdue Boilermakers showing just how small the stud in question is.

Dec 17, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Hannah Hidalgo (3) smiles after the game against the Purdue Boilermaekrs at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the statement provided to a pool reporter on the decision afterwards:

The statement cites a rule banning “jewelry,” notes that players found wearing jewelry are required to leave and not return until it’s removed, and adds a note that clear piercing retainers are allowed. So the actions here certainly were by the letter of the rule. But it is curious why this wasn’t enforced all year and then was in the Sweet 16.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.