Texas association in Shabbat hoops controversy adopts new policy

(JTA) — Months after initially refusing to reschedule a Friday night game involving an Orthodox school, The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools has changed its rules to accommodate the religious observances of all its members.

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Known as TAPPS, the association was widely criticized for initially refusing to reschedule a Friday night semifinal game in the boys basketball state tournament involving The Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston. Beren Academy is an Orthodox school, and therefore does not compete on the Jewish Sabbath. TAPPS, the main association in Texas for private and parochial schools, changed the time of its games only after several players and their parents filed a lawsuit.

Beren won the rescheduled semifinal matchup, before losing in the championship game for schools with enrollments of 55 to 120 students.

The new policy, posted on the association’s website, states that religious accommodation “shall be the standard as TAPPS prepares for state competitions that are accessible to all member schools and the students that they serve through team activities.” The new policy is effective this school year.

The change has been in the works for months, and comes after the association began facing pressure from its members to become more inclusive of schools of all faiths.

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