An Alabama highschool basketball crew was pressured to decide on religion over a sport. The governor is demanding solutions


Oakwood Adventist Academy is a Seventh-Day Adventist college in Huntsville, positioned 100 miles north of Birmingham. Their males’s basketball crew had superior to the semifinals of the state event final week, the college’s Athletic Director, Calvin Morton, advised CNN Wednesday.

However the regional semifinal sport was set for Saturday, February 19 at 4:30 p.m., and would intervene with Sabbath, which is noticed from sunset Friday to sunset on Saturday.

Morton stated he emailed the Alabama Excessive Faculty Athletic Affiliation (AHSAA) to ask if they might play at 7:30 p.m. as an alternative, after sundown, to satisfy their religious beliefs.

That request was denied.

“We weren’t asking for a change of stadium or venue or a change of a unique day,” Morton advised CNN. “It was a easy two-to-three hour sport change … which we thought was an inexpensive ask.”

The opposite groups taking part within the event have been prepared to accommodate and swap sport instances, Morton stated. When he relayed that message to AHSAA in a comply with up, they nonetheless denied the change.

AHSAA advised CNN they haven’t any remark presently.

Morton stated that they had a crew assembly and everybody was on the identical web page: They’d forfeit. “We have been stunned and upset that they weren’t going to play,” Morton stated.

Now, Governor Kay Ivey is stepping in and demanding solutions from the affiliation.

The team says they have no regrets in their decision to forfeit the game to meet their religious beliefs.
Ivey took to Twitter on Tuesday to share the letters she despatched to AHSAA Director Alvin Briggs and Judy Chiles-Dent, Oakwood’s principal.

“I’m writing to precise my profound concern — and to get some solutions — concerning the alleged remedy of Oakwood Adventist Academy,” Ivey wrote within the letter to Briggs.

That letter goes on to record questions for the group that she calls for solutions to. These embrace: “Which AHSAA staff have been accountable for making this choice?” and “How can we as a State be sure that one thing like this by no means happens once more?”

In her letter to Principal Chiles-Dent, Ivey provided solidarity.

“The concept that a crew like Oakwood could possibly be denied an opportunity to compete based mostly on its religion — with out even probably the most modest of lodging — is deeply regarding,” Ivey’s letter reads.

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The governor went on to ask the principal, gamers and coaches of the basketball crew to the Alabama Capitol to have a good time the crew’s achievements and inform her about their time within the event. The crew plans to just accept Governor Ivey’s invitation and hope they’ll meet her within the subsequent week, Morton stated.

“It is nice that we’ve got that assist for us,” Morton added. “It is not only for Oakland Adventist Academy, it is for another college or academy that has religious values or beliefs.”
Regardless of their pressured forfeit of the sport, the crew nonetheless traveled to the event at Jacksonville State College to cheer on the opposite groups, according to CNN affiliate WAFF.

The crew’s senior captain, Raynon Andrews, advised WAFF they haven’t any regrets about their choice.

“There’s a complete Fb neighborhood, there are individuals all world wide texting mother and father, saying how proud they’re of us,” Andrews stated. “Meaning so much.”

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