Alvin Briggs, Executive Director of AHSAA: The association has confirmed the agreement signed by Oakwood upon joining
Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Alvin Briggs responded Thursday to Governor Kay Ivey’s email earlier this week. The email was critical of AHSAA’s handling of the situation with the Oakwood Academy men’s basketball team last weekend.
Oakwood, a Seventh-day Adventist school, lost its Northeast regional semifinal for religious reasons. The game was scheduled to be played at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Jacksonville State University. Seventh-day Adventists celebrate the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.
The school hoped AHSAA would reverse play time with the other Class 1A semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Oakwood Academy athletic director Calvin Morton said his request was declined twice via email. On Tuesday, Governor Ivey sent her letter to Briggs — and shared it with members of the media — asking for answers on AHSAA’s position on the matter.
Briggs said in his response to Governor Ivey that he does not generally respond to external inquiries about student-athletes or assessed actions at member schools, but “as the honorable Governor of the State of Alabama, I thought an answer would be important in this case. .”
Briggs said when Oakwood became a full member of the Association in 2017, AHSAA’s central board had concerns about the school’s membership because many championships are held on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Therefore, Oakwood has agreed to follow AHSAA’s rules and has agreed to participate in all playoff games without petition or forfeit. This statement has been provided to AHSAA in writing, and AHSAA has responded in writing. , accepting their agreement to participate in the championship, without petition or package.
Briggs wrote further, “Therefore, regardless of the reporting and public narrative that was created, AHSAA merely upheld the agreement reached when Oakwood became a full member.”
Briggs pointed out that AHSAA has more than 414 high schools and 27 boys’ or girls’ sports. He said making an exception for any school whenever a school is requested would be “chaotic”.
In a response to a specific question from Ivey, Briggs said AHSAA’s response did not violate any Association rules. “AHSAA was simply respecting the agreement reached between Oakwood and AHSAA.”
Ivey’s letter asked if AHSAA was concerned about how Oakwood’s “treatment” would be perceived by Alabama taxpayers who support and subsidize AHSAA’s operations. Briggs pointed out that AHSAA receives no state funding.
He also said that Oakwood, as a member, has had the opportunity to submit proposals, modify current regulations or create new ones. He concluded by thanking the Governor for her concern for student-athletes.
Later Thursday evening, Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola responded to Briggs’ letter.
“As she stated in her initial letters, Governor Ivey wants answers about the concerning situation involving AHSAA. Earlier this evening she received a letter from Mr. Briggs. She also looks forward to receiving the Oakwood basketball team in their office so they can hear the boys. The governor continues to gather the facts about this situation.
The full letter is below: