Ayden Lasley, 12, of Bel Air

Ayden Lasley, 12, of Bel Air is shown wearing his "Ball So Hard University" shirt. (Courtesy photo)

A 12-year-old Bel Air boy was reprimanded Wednesday by administrators at his middle school for wearing a football-themed sweat shirt with the words "Ball So Hard University" printed across the chest.

"I was kind of disappointed," said Ayden Lasley, who is in the seventh grade at Bel Air's Southampton Middle School and was bewildered by the administrators' assessment that the shirt was inappropriate for school. He was told he had to remove the shirt or turn it inside out. "I thought, 'Do you see the purple football?'"

The fictional "Ball So Hard University" went viral after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said he attended the school. He made the statement before a nationally televised game in early November against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and soon the phrase began appearing on T-shirts and other items.

Ayden's father, Bill Lasley, said they purchased the shirt Tuesday evening at Harford Mall. Ayden was excited to wear it to school the next day, Bill Lasley said.

When Bill Lasley found out about the school administrators' ruling, he contacted members of the school board to complain. The decision was reversed, Bill Lasley said.

"I commend the school for changing their mind," he said. "It's blatantly obvious what it's talking about, that the shirt is supporting the Ravens."

Suggs has set aside two seats for Ayden and his father at Sunday's playoff game against the Houston Texans, according to Suggs' Facebook page.

Ayden said it would be the first NFL game he's watched from the stands. The Ravens are his favorite team, and Suggs has long been his favorite player, he said.

The story was first reported by the local news website Bel Air Patch.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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