New Rule Allows Alabama Student-Athletes to Honor Their Religious Beliefs Without Sacrificing Sports | New

The Alabama High School Athletic Association is updating the rules after a group of students were forced to choose between their faith and a state basketball tournament.

The Oakwood Adventist Academy student-athletes’ decision to prioritize their religious beliefs has drawn attention not only from their school and community, but also from the governor of Alabama and other government officials. ‘State.

It also helped create the change needed to ensure that other student-athletes did not find themselves in similar situations.

“Today’s vote from the Alabama High School Athletic Association is absolutely a victory for religious freedom and is a strong testament to the boys of Oakwood and what they believe in,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “I hope Alabamians – young and old – can look up to these boys as an example.”

The Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team was scheduled to face Faith Christian Academy in the Northeast Class 1A Basketball Regional Semifinals in February.

However, the match was set for a Saturday. Oakwood Adventist Academy follows the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes Saturday as the Sabbath.

They requested that the game be changed to a different time that would not conflict with their beliefs, but AHSAA refused, and the team had to choose between losing their chance to win the state tournament title. or go against his religion.

They chose to forfeit.

Ivey then invited the team to the State Capitol so they could learn more about their decision. She said one player described the situation as a challenge from God, and as far as she was concerned, “they passed the test”.

On Tuesday, she continued to congratulate them.

“They stayed strong in their faith and showed that good can come from a difficult situation,” Ivey said. “Here in Alabama, we will always stand up for religious freedom, and this rule change certainly does just that.”

AHSAA’s new rule was passed Tuesday and will accommodate future religious demands. Judy Dent, principal of Oakwood Adventist Academy, said students and staff at the school “are thrilled to know that their religious freedom in high school sports has been honored by AHSAA.”

“It is our desire to continue to work intentionally with the Association to follow rules that will allow our students to play without compromising their faith,” Dent said.