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Oakwood Adventist Academy files lawsuit against AHSAA

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 2:58 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - In late February, the Oakwood Adventist Academy boy’s basketball team forfeited its playoff game in the Alabama High School basketball tournament due to religious observance.

Now, the school has filed a lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association for what they say is a violation of the First Amendment.

Read the full lawsuit below:

Oakwood Adventist Academy files lawsuit against AHSAA by Charles Montgomery on Scribd

The boy’s basketball team had advanced to the sweet 16 of the high school basketball tournament, but its next game was scheduled for a Saturday. The school would not play on Saturday due to it being the Sabbath for Seventh-Day Adventists.

The team did request to have the game moved to another day, but the AHSAA denied the request.

Senior team captain, Raynon Andrews said the Sabbath is bigger than basketball when the school decided not to play.

“When God created the earth, On the seventh day he rested, he calls us to rest on that day and give that day to him. I’m not going to play on that day no matter what, because it’s bigger than basketball,” Andrews said.

Governor Kay Ivey met with the team after the decision gained public attention. Gov. Ivey released the following statement in regard to Oakwood’s decision:

“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)

Gov. Ivey also sent a letter to the AHSAA, asking for an explanation as to why the team could not play on a different day.

Gov. Kay Ivey Asks AHSAA for Answers About Oakwood Adventist Academy by Charles Montgomery on Scribd

Executive Director of the AHSAA, Alvin Briggs, in a statement to Gov. Ivey, said when the team became a full member of the association, it agreed in 2017 to participate in all playoff games without a petition or forfeit if the game fell on a Friday or Saturday.

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