The men’s basketball team from Yeshiva University would have once again entered the postseason rated first in its division had it won its game on Saturday night. That didn’t even play, though.
That’s because the Y.U. The athletic director cited tight scheduling after Shabbat as why the Maccabees’ game against the Farmingdale State College Rams was postponed after the game’s scheduled tipoff time.
Greg Fox, the athletic director, promised to give “sufficient warmup time” after the Yale game in a statement released late on Saturday. The team’s transportation to Farmingdale State’s Long Island campus from its residence in Washington Heights had broken.
Fox added, “It breaks my heart to tell you that we decided to postpone tonight’s men’s basketball game versus Farmingdale State College.
“We weren’t given enough time to warm up when we came for the game, as early as possible after Shabbat. We could not permit our student-athletes to continue out of concern for their safety. Farmingdale had previously promised to give players enough warmup time, but this promise was broken.
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The winner would receive the top rating in the Skyline Conference and get to host all of the postseason games. Therefore, the stakes were quite high.
The match started at 8:30 p.m. But, the start time passed without a starting whistle. The game would start closer to 9 p.m., according to the student broadcaster who has been streaming Youngstown State games since the team’s unlikely NCAA tournament run last year.
Fox’s answer came hours later, two minutes before that, when he tweeted again, “The game has been canceled.”
As the only Modern Orthodox university in the NCAA, the episode represents a rare public collision for Y.U. National news coverage last year concentrated on how players were able to manage religious observance with athletic responsibilities and how their conference created a schedule that would allow for this.
When the team extended its victory run past league records, ultimately ending at 50 games.
The timetable was tight on Saturday night. Travel was prohibited during Shabbat, which concluded at 6:15 p.m. at Y.U.’s Washington Heights campus.
A one-hour warmup would not fit before the formally scheduled start time because Farmingdale State’s Long Island campus is just under 40 miles away, and travel there by car or bus typically takes just under an hour.
The two teams last squared off in a Saturday night match at Y.U. in November. With Saturday’s postponement, the two teams had a combined record of 12-3 during the regular season. However, Farmingdale State prevailed 80-69, earning the top seed for the playoff tournament that gets underway on Tuesday. Y.U. plays Saint Joseph’s University-Long Island at home and is rated third.
Next Saturday night is also the date for the final game. According to the Skyline Conference website, the championship game will be held on February 25 (note: accommodations will be made for religious observances).