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Gov. Ivey meets with Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 10:54 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2022 at 2:56 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Oakwood Adventist basketball team made the decision to forfeit its state playoff game because it fell on their Sabbath.

The state would not allow the team to switch to a later time, even though the other teams involved agreed to do so.

Although Oakwood Academy took the forfeit, they traveled to the tournament at Jacksonville State University to cheer on the two teams that offered to trade times with them.

Players and leaders of the team say it's a frustrating situation, but they will stand strong in...
Players and leaders of the team say it's a frustrating situation, but they will stand strong in their faith.(WAFF)

Senior captain of the Oakwood Adventist basketball team, Raynon Andrews, says he has no regrets about the decision to forfeit the game.

“There is a whole Facebook community, there are people all around the world texting parents, saying how proud they are of us,” said Andrews. “That means a lot and I know for the team that means a lot too.”

Andrews says they have not heard anything from the state athletic association. He hopes their choice to not play will help create change, so this doesn’t happen to another team in the future.

On Tuesday, Feb. 22 Governor Kay Ivey sent a letter to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Alvin Briggs to express her concern for the alleged treatment of the Oakwood Adventist Academy and to demand answers, according to her office.

Gov. Kay Ivey asks AHSAA for answers about Oakwood Adventist Academy by Charles Montgomery on Scribd

Gov. Ivey also sent a letter to Oakwood Adventist Academy Principal Judy Chiles-Dent to express support for the team’s recent decision.

Gov. Ivey letter to Oakwood Adventist Academy by Charles Montgomery on Scribd

Executive Director of AHSAA, Alvin Briggs, responded to Governor Ivey’s letter regarding the Oakwood Adventist Academy Boys Varsity Basketball team forfeit.

AHSAA received tough criticism across the state and nationally when it did not allow the team to change its game time to not interfere with their religious practices.

In a letter to Gov. Ivey, Briggs said based on becoming a full member of the association, the team agreed back in 2017 to participate in all playoff games without a petition or forfeit if they fell on a Friday or Saturday. Briggs added the association simply upheld the agreement that Oakwood made.

Read the full response below:

AHSAA Letter to Governor Ivey by Kelsey Duncan on Scribd

Gov. Ivey met with the full Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team on Monday to express her support for their decision to forfeit their game.

Gov. Ivey released the following statement after the meeting:

“Alabamians and even folks around the country have been in total admiration of the young men on the Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team. These boys stuck by their convictions, pointing out that sometimes it hurts to obey God. No doubt, these boys are reminding us all that when we work together and do what is right, we will be better off. As one player noted, God challenged them, and they passed the test.”

Gov. Ivey with Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team
Gov. Ivey with Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team(Governor's Office)

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