High school basketball players at The Robert M. Beren Academy, a Jewish school in Houston, Texas, were going to be forced to forfeit their chances at winning the state championship.
As The Blaze reported yesterday, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), the league overseeing the team, was refusing to adjust a game that was scheduled on the Sabbath. However, following intense media coverage and a potential legal battle, the league has reversed course.
JTA has more regarding what led to TAPPS's change of heart:
The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, known as TAPPS, decided Thursday to reschedule a state boys' basketball tournament semifinal so that the Beren Academy of Houston can compete without violating the Jewish Sabbath. The game, which had been scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday, instead will be played in the afternoon.
The decision came just hours after the announcement that the team captain, along with teammates and parents, had enlisted the support of a prominent Washington attorney and filed a lawsuit against TAPPS and the Mansfield Independent School District, whose facilities are hosting the semifinals and finals of the 2A tournament.
In a press release published on the school's web site, school officials praised the league's decision:
We are thankful to TAPPS for ultimately making the right decision. The school administration and board was not involved in any legal action, and we regret that it took a lawsuit filed by parents to bring about this decision.
We greatly appreciate the strong outpouring of support from so many...We are very proud of our basketball team, the Beren Stars. Not only have the boys demonstrated considerable skill on the court this season, but they have also handled the stress of the past week with extraordinary maturity and composure. We also thank Coach Cole, the RMBA Athletic Director, for his outstanding leadership.
TAPPS director Edd Burleson previously said that amending the rules was an impossibility. “If you make exceptions, we no longer have rules,” he said, going on to claim that one or two Jewish schools in the league shouldn’t dictate what 120 schools do.
In the end, it seems Burleson and league officials decided that making the concession was the right -- or the least problematic -- path forward.