Thursday, February 28, 2008

Herzl Rocky Mountain Academy, Campion Academy, and the Colorado High School Activities Association

H/T The Dan Patrick Show.

Now I'll grant that one's opinions of the story below depend upon your interpretation of Mark 2:23-28.

Not that Herzl/Rocky Mountain Academy cares about what the Gospel of Mark says. But this is what the International Herald Tribune says:

Herzl/Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy's boys team could be headed for a regional championship Saturday, March 8, if it wins Thursday. But the Denver school's religious beliefs prohibit students from playing between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday.

Earlier this month, the Colorado High School Activities Association, which governs sports and other high school activities, rejected a request for a schedule change.

If Herzl/RMHA makes it to the regional championship and refuses to play a Saturday game, another school would be chosen to take its place, CHSAA Commissioner Bill Reader said.

But Jewish schools are not the only ones impacted by CHSAA policies. There's also Campion Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist school:

Campion's mission, painted on the outside of the gym on the north side of the campus, is "Experiencing Christ in a Learning Environment."

It is not "Take State!"

Despite winning their fourth consecutive Northern Front Range League title this season, the Cougars (13-1) won't be part of the Colorado High School Activities Association's Class 2A state tournament — though Beans and his players would like that chance.
Instead, they will play in an annual tournament for Seventh-day Adventist schools at Union College in Lincoln, Neb., beginning tonight. They'll likely roll through the tournament, but it's not the same as state.

The 101-year-old academy's strict adherence to the Fourth Commandment — "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" — and the traditional Jewish definition of the Sabbath, means the Cougars can't play between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday.

But the Campion story has an interesting twist. While CHSAA won't work with the Jews, they tried to work with the Adventists:

Even when CHSAA officials relented a few years ago to allow the Cougars to work with potential district and regional opponents on scheduling, Campion's faculty refused to allow it.

Beans, part of a four-generation Campion family, and his players respectfully disagree with the policy.

"I think it would be a good opportunity for our team to show who we really are, and be a good ministry for our school and our religion," starting center Nathan Lorenz said.

Beans' son, Michael Beans says he loves the school but it's frustrating to miss the state tournament. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)Michael, a senior guard and the team's leading scorer at 16 points per game, said: "It's frustrating to know that we could get recognition for the school and the team, and they won't let us do that. The payoff in sports is a championship, and every team deserves a right to at least have a shot at that."

One politician pointed out that the CHSAA attitude is unfair:

Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver, said the CHSAA's decision was ironic because it has a rule barring games from being played on Sunday for religious reasons.

And yes, politicians have now become involved.

At the end of morning debate in the state Senate on Wednesday, Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, called on the CHSAA to be more flexible....

Senator Tom Wiens, R-Sedalia, said there must be a way for the CHSAA to accommodate the team.

And then Wiens said this.

"It just seems like the bureaucracy has run amok here," Wiens said.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

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