Basketball tournaments on the Sabbath

Alan Brownstein aebrownstein at
Sun Mar 4 12:33:33 PST 2012

I don't view these issues as absolute "Yes" or "No" questions. I think tournament organizers should take the religious beliefs of participants into account, but there will be situations where the cost to others of particular accommodations will be too high for the requested accommodation to be granted.

Some accommodations are relatively low cost. If two semi-final games are going to be played Saturday afternoon and evening, why shouldn't the organizers accommodate the needs of a religious school's team that observes Saturday as the Sabbath and schedule their game for the evening rather the afternoon? Some rejections of accommodations create unnecessary burdens for religious schools. In the Oregon litigation I referenced earlier, the tournament organizers refused to allow the Adventist School's team to play in any tournament games unless they would commit to playing every game scheduled even if it fell on the Sabbath.

Other harder cases may involve higher costs. Even here, however, sometimes there may be creative solutions that mitigate burdens or spread costs. If we value religious liberty and are concerned about the exclusion and isolation of religious minorities, we should take accommodation problems seriously -- although that does not mean that the accommodation will always be granted.

Alan Brownstein

From: religionlaw-bounces at [religionlaw-bounces at] on behalf of Marci Hamilton [hamilton02 at]
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2012 7:33 AM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Cc: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Basketball tournaments on the Sabbath

I agree with Paul here, and with the TAPPs ultimate decision which they should have reached earlier.   Rick seemed to imply that I and others might not agree with it so I wanted to clarify my comments   As I said originally, I was asking the big picture question.  These events have many moving parts

 I don't think common sense is enough of an answer.

I will return to the harder question   Do list participants expect state and/or national tournaments to be reorganized according to the religious beliefs of some of the teams or players?  My daughter and I are at the National Field Hockey Indoor Tournament this weekend.  It is a longstanding annual event.  120 out of 300 private club teams competitively qualify annually.  And when the venue and timing is chosen  no one knows who is going to be attending.   Families and coaches can attend because a weekend does not conflict w most work and school schedules.

Should such an event change its days of operation to avoid religious conflicts?    I think the answer has to be no    Or should they wait for the ad hoc request?   Or should they be able to say to all clubs we can't accommodate religious or other requests because of the complexity of the event?  A la Bowen v Roy and Lee?

Folks may be tired of this thread at this point but I am interested in any thoughts


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