Friday, April 20th, 2012
A high-school junior with Down syndrome, who has played on his school’s basketball and football teams, may have to sit on the sidelines for his senior year because he has turned 19 and now violates the maximum age allowed by the school district.
Eric Dompierre attends Ishpeming High School in Michigan, where he has experienced some thrilling moments in sports, including scoring a 3-point shot in basketball and kicking a field goal in football. His parents have always been thrilled and grateful for his acceptance and level of participation, and they are fighting to allow him to play during his senior year. From CNN.com:
According to the constitution of the Michigan High School Athletic League, students who turn 19 before September 1 are not allowed to compete in sports. The rule is intended to prevent the possibility of injury or competitive advantage from an older more developed athlete playing against younger students.
For the past two years Eric’s parents, with the support of the Ishpeming High School District have tried to get the rule changed so Eric can play during his senior year.
But a committee with the Michigan High School Athletic Association has refused two proposals which would allow kids like Eric to participate.
James Derocher is the president of that committee says “our members have to change the constitution and at this point in time they’ve told us ‘no.’ ”
Derocher says one of the concerns is that if they let Eric play, other 19-year-olds may come along in the future and claim a disability for a competitive advantage.
Image: Football, via Shutterstock.
Friday, March 2nd, 2012
The Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish high school in Houston, Texas, is back in the state basketball championship tournament after legal pressure led tournament organizers to reschedule the timing of the semifinal and championship games. The school made news this week when it bowed out of the chance to compete because the games fell on Friday evening and Saturday, which is the Jewish sabbath known as Shabbat.
ESPN.com reports that a group of parents filed a lawsuit asking the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) to reschedule the games to accommodate the religious requirements of the Jewish students.
After being notified the lawsuit had been filed, TAPPS director Edd Burleson said the association would reverse course and allow Beren (23-5) to play Dallas Covenant at 2 p.m. Friday at Fort Worth Nolan High School.
Should the [Beren] Stars win, they’ll start their championship game no earlier than 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Headmaster Harry Sinoff and coach Chris Cole only learned of the legal action Thursday morning, they said, and regretted that the situation reached the level of legal action.
“It’s a mixed emotion,” Cole said. “We feel like we’ve earned the right to play. Our focus all week has been trying to get TAPPS to reschedule the game times to accommodate us.
“At the same time, this was not the course of action that we wanted.”
Burleson said earlier this week that association bylaws prevented TAPPS from moving Beren’s game time.
The complaint says that the basketball team is “being denied, solely on account of their religious observance, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in their athletic conference’s state basketball championship tournament.
Image: Basketball in the net, via Shutterstock.
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
The Robert M. Beren Academy, a Jewish day school in Houston, Texas, has opted out of the state basketball championship game because the game falls on the Jewish Sabbath, CNN.com reports. The Orthodox Jewish school observes the Sabbath, called Shabbat in Hebrew, each week from sundown Friday to sunset Saturday, and the semifinal and championship games, which the school has qualified for, both fall on Saturday.
The school has reportedly appealed to the league for a change of time, but so far has been unsuccessful. Appeals are ongoing, though, as CNN reports:
“If we give up this opportunity for our religion it just shows how much we deeply care for it,” Isaac Buchine, a player on the Beren Stars, told KPRC.
“We are hopeful that the TAPPS league will move the games a few hours so that we can compete,” the school said in a statement posted on its website.
“This is a testament to our school and to Coach Cole for his support and dedication, that, independent of the desire to compete, is the desire to uphold our Jewish values,” the statement continued. “We are proud of who we are, and have the courage to act accordingly.”
By Wednesday, more than 5,000 people had signed an online petition, supported by the school, to move the Beren Stars’ semifinal game to Friday morning.
Image: Basketball, via Shutterstock.