DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Although the basketball playoffs for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial schools is long over, the controversy over the rescheduling of the games to accommodate an orthodox Jewish school still remains.
A court order forced TAPPS to adjust the playoff schedule so Houston’s Beren Academy didn’t play a game on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.
The head of TAPPS, however, believes all the problems could have been avoided in the first place: They shouldn’t have been allowed to play to begin with.
“Not because of their religious affiliation,” TAPPS Director Edd Burleson said, “it was because of the difficulty that came about in accommodating them.”
Burleson said the organization told Beren about the potential for conflict ahead of time. Beren Academy’s director, Rabbi Harry Sinoff, says they agreed to that, but later felt they weren’t being treated fairly.
“We asked them, simply asked them, if they could make an accommodation for a few hours on Friday and a few hours on Saturday,” he said.
TAPPS initially said no until parents secured a court order forcing them to do otherwise. Burleson says they would’ve fought it, but they didn’t have enough time.
“The TAPPS board pointed out because of your observance of the Sabbath, this is going to create a conflict if you ever get in the playoffs,” he said. “It resulted in additional time spent, additional accommodations that had to be made by the opposing schools.”
Burleson said he plans to present the heads of their 220 member schools with a survey about whether they think the bi-laws should change. Sinoff said he feels this is a positive move.
“TAPPS is undergoing a process of self-reflection, which is very courageous of them,” he said.
But Burleson said TAPPS can’t be all things to all people.
“There are some schools that, for one reason or another, do not fit the mold that is currently in place,” he said.
Sinoff, however, said this doesn’t discourage Beren Academy from staying in TAPPs. He says the story for the orthodox school is bigger than all of this controversy.
“Our story was, we’re willing to give up the chance to play the match of a lifetime in honor of celebrating the Sabbath,” he said.
Beren Academy won the game TAPPS was forced to reschedule, but lost in the finals.