HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WALA) – The Oakwood Adventist Academy High School men’s basketball team chose faith over finals.
The Huntsville team was scheduled to play Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
The problem, the denunciation, was during their Sabbath. The rest time of the Seventh-day Adventist religion is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
The team was forced by AHSAA to forfeit because they would not play at the scheduled time.
“God created the Earth and on the seventh day he rested. He calls us to rest on that day and give him this day,” said team captain and senior Raynon Andrews.
Andrews said that’s a harsh reality for his team, which has gone further into the playoffs than any team in school history.
The Mustangs even tried to contact Decatur Heritage to see if they would change their game time and the team agreed. The state high school athletic association denied the request.
AHSAA told the school, “All games in each region should be played as scheduled.”
Governor Kay Ivey has heard of AHSAA’s position. She wrote this letter to AHSAA:
Governor Ivey also wrote this to the boys’ basketball team:
In a final show of sportsmanship, the Mustangs still made it to the semi-finals. They chose to support the team that had agreed to support their beliefs.
“I really appreciate the way Decatur Heritage showed their love towards us. After the game they came to wow us and before the warm up they pointed at us saying basically they’re proud of us that we have taken a stand,” Andrews said.
AHSAA responded to Governor Ivey’s letter. Executive Director Alvin Briggs sent the governor a letter saying in part that they had concerns when Oakwood became a full member in 2017 because many championship events take place on Fridays and Saturdays.
However, Briggs said the school “agreed” to follow the rules and play all playoff games without a petition or forfeit.