Former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy (above) and Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker have joined a chorus of criticism following the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ refusal to reschedule the state semi-final hoops contest between Robert M. Beren Academy and the Covenant School of Dallas. The former is an Orthodox Jewish day school and TAPPS have conveniently booked the playoff game to take place on a Friday. From the New York Times’ Mary Pilon :
“It is also my understanding that Tapps teams are not allowed to play any sports on Sundays,” Parker wrote. “Which I presume is out of respect for the Christian Sabbath.”
The organization posted a statement on its Web site on Wednesday that said it was adhering to its bylaws, which were written in the late 1970’s, when “the member schools at that time all recognized Sunday as the day of worship.”
Several of Beren Academy’s opponents this season agreed to change the time of their games to avoid conflicts with the Sabbath — including Our Lady of the Hills, the team from Kerrville that Beren Academy defeated in the regional final. Our Lady of the Hills will replace Beren Academy in the state semifinal game.
“I do understand that Beren was able to reschedule two of its earlier playoff games this postseason,” Parker said in the letter. “It is difficult to comprehend why it is not possible at this stage of the playoffs.”
Jeff Van Gundy, the former coach of the Houston Rockets and the Knicks, said he left a phone message with Tapps representatives this week expressing his concern.
“I called because when you’re the head of an association like this, the only thing you should worry about is doing right by the kids,” Van Gundy said in a phone interview Wednesday. “This decision has nothing to do with the kids. I feel like they made a mistake and they don’t have a vice president of common sense who will tell them that this is silly and it’s O.K. to change your mind.”