CNN/KETK — The athlete has since admitted, he was not thanking God when he was flagged after the race.
KETK spoke with the UIL Deputy Director who says, officials acted correctly, and that there is no effort suppress any athlete's demonstration of faith.
A high school track runner's gesture at the finish line cost his team a trip to the state championships.
School officials say he broke an excessive celebration rule when he pointed to the sky after his win.
Now, the move has a lot of people talking about religious freedom.
It was a show of faith that has this town talking.
Junior, Derrick Hayes, put his hand by his ear and pointed at the Heavens after crossing the finish line after running the anchor leg of a relay.
And that cost the team a trip to state.
According to the rules that govern high school sports, you can't show any excessive act of celebration, hands included.
Parents have complained to the state, but as it stands, four athletes from Columbus High School now have no chance of advancing.
If you ask around town, some see it as a violation of religious freedom.
Which is why, for many in Columbus, the track team did win, even without a title.