Oregon justices affirm review of Sabbath-tourney scheduling

By Chris Rizo | May 8, 2008

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)-The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state school officials must review whether high school basketball tournament schedules should be adjusted to accommodate a team's religious beliefs.

The high court, agreeing with an appeals court, ordered the case sent back to the Oregon State Board of Education, which has twice sided with the Oregon School Activities Association's scheduling position.

The Oregon School Activities Association has said that scheduling games around members of the Portland Adventist Academy, who observe a Sabbath from sundown Friday through sundown Saturday, would cause undue hardship for other participants and game attendees.

Portland Adventist first asked the OSAA to adjust its tournament schedule in 2000. Portland Adventist is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Cougars were allowed to play in the OSAA Class 3A boys state tournament in March after Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Henry Kantor granted a petition for temporary relief.

Before that, Portland Adventist had elected not to play in the state tournament for the previous five seasons, even though the team qualified to be in the tournament.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued the case for the school before the Supreme Court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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