Conflict over religious dates ends Crawford’s season
Despite winning a league championship in its first year, the Crawford Academy senior girls basketball team’s season has come to an abrupt halt. Crawford qualified for this week’s Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association Single- A playoffs in Sturgeon Falls, but was forced to withdraw because two of the three provincial playoff dates conflicted with religious obligations. Many of the 200 students at the high school, including half of the 12- member team, are Seventh Day Adventists who observe the Sabbath.
“ It’s no good, the girls worked hard to get where they got,” said coach Lloyd Lawrence, whose team finished on a four- game winning streak.
“( OFSAA) has to do something about scheduling playoffs that could create a conflict with religious holidays or observances,” added Lawrence.
Jennifer Bennett, OFSAA’s assistant director, said the provincial sports governing body organizes playoffs on a three- year schedule and tries to avoid conflicts. “We take all major religious holidays into consideration but we only found out last week ( about Crawford) and it was just too late to make any adjustments.”
Five years ago, OFSAA staged the provincial gymnastics playoffs on Passover, resulting in nine athletes from the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto missing out on a chance to win a medal. Bennett hinted that OFSAA was between a rock and a hard place trying to stage playoffs that would accommodate everyone, while school administrators have often expressed concerns about too many days missed by students.
“ I’m very upset that we can’t go,’’ said 15- year- old Crawford guard Alexandra Hart.
“Because it’s not every year that a team like ours gets a chance to qualify.
“ One would think that the people organizing these events would be more considerate,” she added.