HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) – Oakwood Adventist Academy in Huntsville has filed a lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association after the Oakwood Adventist basketball team made the decision to forfeit its state playoff game in February 2022 because it fell on a Sabbath day.
The state would not allow the team to switch to a later time, even if the other teams involved agreed to do so.
The lawsuit alleges religious discrimination by AHSAA against Oakwood Adventist.
According to the lawsuit, Oakwood is a Seventh-day Adventist school and its religious beliefs prohibit it from participating in competitive basketball games on the Sabbath.
The lawsuit asks the Court:
A. Demand that AHSAA stop discriminating against Oakwood and stop preventing Oakwood from participating in the state’s postseason competition because of religious beliefs;
B. Issue a permanent injunction prohibiting AHSAA from refusing to respond to Oakwood’s religious requests for postseason game schedule changes;
C. Compensatory Damages;
D. Nominal damages;
E. Reasonable Costs of Action and Attorneys’ Fees.
WBRC FOX6 News has reached out to AHSAA’s legal counsel. We will update this story when we receive a statement or response.
A copy of the lawsuit is below:
On Tuesday, Feb. 22, Governor Kay Ivey sent a letter to Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Alvin Briggs expressing concern about the alleged treatment of Oakwood Adventist Academy and demanding answers, according to his office.
In a letter to Governor Ivey, Briggs said that by becoming a full member of the association, the team agreed in 2017 to participate in all playoff games without petition or forfeit if they fell on a Friday or Saturday. . Briggs added that the association had simply confirmed the agreement made by Oakwood.
Ivey also met with members of the team.
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