As advised by legal counsel, the governing body approved accommodations to the Class 1B and 2B state volleyball tournaments for schools that recognize the Saturday Sabbath.
Parents who sued the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) over alleged religious discrimination settled with the governing body, according to Northwest Yeshiva athletic director Jed Davis. Based on recommendations from legal counsel, the WIAA executive board voted earlier this month to make accommodations to the Class 1B and 2B state volleyball tournaments for schools that recognize the Saturday Sabbath, the WIAA announced earlier this week.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Davis, who began the quest in 2009 to change the tournament. “One of the things that kept coming up before the trial, during the trial (in May) and the week after the trial was ‘Why are they (WIAA) doing this? Why are they taking this to court?’ Because to us, and we were biased of course, this is a done deal. … It only shows how adamantly, strongly opposed they were to this. But what I care about is that the Jewish girls and the Adventist girls, they have the same rights as every other kid in the state.”
The Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday, meaning teams need to end competition at 4 p.m. To make these accommodations, the Class 1B and 2B state tournaments will be moved to Thursday-Friday (Nov. 9-10 for the 2017 season) and remain at the Yakima Valley SunDome. The Class 1A state tournament will remain a Friday-Saturday format and will either be held at the Yakima Valley SunDome or at Pierce College in Puyallup.
Last fall, the three smallest classifications — a combined 48 teams — all played at the SunDome.
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Parents representing 12 student-athletes from Northwest Yeshiva (Mercer Island), Walla Walla Adventist Academy and Puget Sound Adventist Academy (Kirkland) filed suit in King County Superior Court in October 2015. A trial date set last winter had to be rescheduled due to a holiday conflict.