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Oakwood Adventist basketball team meets with Gov. Kay Ivey after religious stand

The Oakwood Adventist Academy varsity boys basketball team received widespread praise for its decision to recognize the Sabbath and forgo an opportunity to advance to the Class 1A Northeast Regional final.

After the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) denied Oakwood Adventist’s request to reschedule its regional semifinals game time so it could adhere to its Christian observance, the team was forced to forfeit the tournament game and end its best season in school history.

AHSAA’s failure to grant the request was met with extensive criticism due to Oakwood Adventist’s opponent and the affected teams agreeing to what appeared to be a simple scheduling change.

The team’s stand for its faith caught the attention of Gov. Kay Ivey, who penned a letter to AHSAA demanding answers over its decision. The governor invited the team to meet with her at the Alabama State Capitol, a meeting which occurred on Tuesday.

According to the governor’s office, Ivey told the young men that their actions had inspired many and advised that a number of constituents and lawmakers had contacted her regarding the matter. Additionally, the players introduced themselves to the governor and offered their assessment of the situation.

Following the meeting, Ivey issued a public statement applauding the players for holding true to their faith’s guiding principles.

“Alabamians and even folks around the country have been in total admiration of the young men on the Oakwood Adventist Academy basketball team,” said Ivey. “These boys stuck by their convictions, pointing out that sometimes it hurts to obey God. No doubt, these boys are reminding us all that when we work together and do what is right, we will be better off. As one player noted, God challenged them, and they passed the test.”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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