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February 16, 2009

YULA Panthers forfeited two games over Oakwood girl

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/yula_forfeits_twice_to_oakwood_over_girl_20090216/

YULA (Yeshiva of Los Angeles) boys school’s basketball team forfeited two games this season against Oakwood rather than face the North Hollywood prep school’s lineup—which features a pink-haired punk rock girl. The forfeitures, which have been upheld by the CIF Liberty League, have place YULA third in the standings as its Panthers head into playoffs this week, the Daily News reported.

Emma Levine, a 17-year-old senior, joined the Oakwood Gorillas boys basketball team this year because the school didn’t have enough players. Levine, a Reform Jew, says she knew her presence on the team was going to be an issue for YULA since Orthodox boys can’t play sports with girls after b’nai mitzvah age. But Levine says her coach and the school wanted to defend its Title IX right to have a girl on the court, rather than have her sit out two games.

“I knew that early in the season, but my administration was going to stand by me 100 percent. I came in this saying, `I’ll do whatever you want.’ I didn’t want to cause any more attention than was needed. But the school said absolutely not. `We’re not backing down. You’re not going to not be part of the team for two games,’” Levine told the Daily News.

YULA decided not to press the issue. Two days before the first game, the Orthodox high school officially forfeited the games it was scheduled to play against Oakwood on Jan. 17 and Feb. 3.

But after a Jan. 27 upset of league power Buckley of Sherman Oaks, 18-2 at the time, YULA found itself in contention for the playoffs and asked league officials to revisit the issue, to strike the two forfeit losses against Oakwood from the record, to essentially cut its season to 18 games.

After nearly two weeks of back-and-forth, the league decided to uphold the forfeits.

Yeshiva officials declined comment on the forfeits or the league’s decision to uphold the losses.

Yeshiva finished the regular season with a 13-8 overall record, 5-5 in the Liberty League, and will go into next week’s Southern Section playoffs as the league’s third-place team.

Oakwood (6-14, 2-8) finished last in the league, its only two victories being the forfeits by Yeshiva.

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