NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A local Jewish university is making history in the NCAA tennis tournament.
As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, the Yeshiva University men’s tennis team made school history without even having a tennis court on campus.
The Maccabees travel to New Jersey every night, practicing as late as 11 p.m.
But a schedule conflict almost kept the Division III school out of the tournament. All three rounds were slated to include Saturday afternoon matches, which coincides with the Jewish sabbath.
“We know what we stand for the Jewish people. We’re not allowed to play on Saturday,” team captain Jeremy Seftel told Smith.
Yeshiva University put in a request to the NCAA early in the season saying its team won’t suit up on a Saturday under any circumstances.
“All indications so far are that they understand how firm and strict we are about the rule,” said coach Iran Miller.
Yeshiva University has won trophies in the past, but this is the first time in its 128-year history a team has advanced to the NCAA tournament, Smith reported.
If the team is unable to compete in the tournament, school officials said it would be heartbreaking for the athletes. But the school said there will be no compromise on the school’s behalf.
“That would be really unfortunate if all of their hard work and all their sacrifice and they couldn’t play,” Yeshiva Athletic Director Joe Bednarsh told Smith.
As long as the Maccabees are winning, all teams will have to follow the no Saturday rule. NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham said religion is taken seriously and is going to be accomodated.
“The NCAA adjusts for schools that do not play on Sundays. Yeshiva is the first case, as far as we know, that we’ve adjusted for a Saturday,” she said in a statement.
The Maccabees recieved their tournament schedule early Monday evening. They’ll play Skidmore College Thursday afternoon instead of Saturday, which is when it was originally scheduled.
If they advance, the Maccabees would play their second-round match on Friday afternoon.
The Maccabees beat Mount Saint Mary’s College 5-1 to earn a berth in the national tournament.
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