Beren Academy again denied on rescheduling of tourney game


UPDATE: Beren Academy prevails in Texas tourney controversy

(JTA) — A Texas school association voted a second time not to reschedule a state boys’ basketball tournament semifinal game that would have allowed a Jewish day school, the Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston, to participate.

Following an appeal from the Beren Academy, the executive board of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools voted 8-0 Wednesday, with one member absent, to affirm the vote from two days earlier not to reschedule the game.

Beren was scheduled to play Dallas Covenant on Friday night at 9 in one of the two semifinals in the 2A category. The finals are scheduled for 2 p.m. the next day. Both games conflict with Shabbat.

The decision by the academy, which has 67 students in its upper school, to forfeit if the game cannot be rescheduled has generated worldwide coverage.

In a statement posted on its website Wednesday, TAPPS said that when the Beren Academy met with the association’s board in 2009 to discuss membership, it was told that tournament games are scheduled on Friday and Saturday, and that the school’s athletic director said he "understood" and "did not see a problem."

"When TAPPS was organized in the late 1970’s, the member schools at that time all recognized Sunday as the day of worship," the statement said. "The By-Laws were written to state that ‘TAPPS would not schedule any competition or activities on Sunday.’ At that time, there were no member schools that observed their Sabbath on Saturday."

The statement also said that "Every effort was made to schedule finals on Saturday, since many parents did not work on Saturday and could attend their children’s games." 

According to the by-laws, the Beren team should have removed itself from contention at the beginning of the playoffs when it realized that it could not "follow the schedule as provided by TAPPS," the statement pointed out.

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