Alabama Seventh-Day Adventist School Forced to Forfeit Basketball Playoff Game -- Time Change for Sabbath Denied

Huntsville, AL’s Oakwood Adventist Academy High School varsity boys basketball team is being forced to forfeit a playoff game later today, eliminating a shot at the 1A state boys’ basketball championship because the game was scheduled during the Sabbath for Seventh-Day Adventists.

On Tuesday, the team advanced to the regional semifinal playoff round. However, when they learned they had been assigned a 4:30 p.m. local time game time, they requested the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) switch their time to the 7:30 p.m. local time game. The AHSAA reportedly denied the request.

“We’re not asking to change a venue, we’re not asking to change a date,” Oakwood Adventist Academy athletic director Calvin Morton said to Huntsville, AL NBC affiliate WAFF. “We’re just simply asking to change a 4:30 time to a 7:30 time to accommodate our religion and our faith. We’re just pleading on our behalf to make a reasonable accommodation for a simple time switch.”

“This is bigger than basketball, these guys know that and staying disciplined in their faith, that’s the most important thing,” he added.

The decision has drawn the attention and ire of Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who tweeted he was “very disappointed.”

Very disappointed in @AHSAAUpdateshttps://t.co/FhQPzlSaES

— Will Ainsworth (@willainsworthAL) February 19, 2022

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Jeff Poor