The text came shortly after 1:30 p.m. on March 31, and Je'Nan Hayes, sitting in the middle of chemistry class, didn't know how to react.

It was only 28 days before that Hayes was sitting on the bench in Watkins Mill's state playoff game at Oxon Hill, wondering why she was the only player to not see the court. Now her coach, Donita Adams, sent her a screen shot of a letter from the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association: The rule that required a waiver for her hijab — and led a ref to bar her from playing in that game because Watkins Mill did not have one — had been changed. Players in Maryland no longer needed a state-approved waiver for religious garments.

"It was just an amazing feeling, and I was really excited," said Hayes, a junior. "I almost burst into tears because I was so happy."

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