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Board Reverses Decision; Jewish Team Will Play

The Houston area Beren Academy boy's basketball team will play its state semi-final game. The school was prepared to forfeit the game, because it fell on the Jewish Sabbath and the league board refused to reschedule it. The decision was changed after a Temporary Restraining Order was to be filed.



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Beren Senior Isaac Merwis says he and some of his fellow team members ran into the halls to celebrate when they found out they were going to get a chance to play their state semi-final game after all.

“Jumping, hugging, you know just … just … it just blew our mind. We didn’t know how to react at first. We were like, really? Did it really just happen?”

The schools plight made both local and national news this week because the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, or TAPPS, refused to reschedule Friday night’s game in Dallas so that the team wouldn’t have to play on the Jewish Sabbath.

In two separate occasions, TAPPS board members voted to keep the schedule as it. That is until the last 24 hrs when someone, believed to be a parent, threatened to file a Temporary Restraining Order against TAPPS. The TRO was never actually filed, because TAPPS agreed to comply.  

Ed Burleson, TAPPS’ director, said the league decided not to fight the lawsuit and is making plans to reschedule the game.

“The timing of it is such that it would not be in the best interest of our schools for TAPPS  to fight it. We want to complete the tournament and we want to abide by the law.”

Beren Coach Chris Cole had this reaction to the news.

“A little disappointed that it came down to a lawsuit. Because we felt like they had a chance to do this earlier in the week — on Monday. We felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Coach Cole has admitted all along they were told before they were admitted into the league that playoff games are held on Friday and there could potentially be a conflict.

I asked School Rabbi Harry Sinoff if it’s fair to sue the league when the school was told about the scheduling conflict up front.

“How is it that you can’t want the best four teams in your final four? And it’s not about rules. We understand that they thought we agreed years ago that we would never try to play in the playoffs. We thought based on precedent and just plain fairness that if we made it that far, an accommodation would be made.”

Sinoff and Coach Cole say the school had nothing to do with the lawsuit. And while they won’t say, they’re happy it was filed. They’re obviously pleased with the results.


The 2A Boys semi-final game between Beren Academy and Dallas Covenant will be played at 2:00 p.m. on Friday March 2, 2012 at Ft Worth Nolan Catholic High School. If Beren wins, it will play the winner of the Abilene Christian-Logos Prep semi-final at Nolan Catholic High School at 8:00 p.m., Saturday March 3, 2012.

If Beren loses the semi-final, Dallas Covenant will play the Abilene Christian-Logos Prep winner at 2:00 p.m. at Mansfield Legacy High School on Saturday March 3, 2012.