Towson seeking help for Goodman

Accommodation sought for Sabbath conflicts

October 24, 1999|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Towson University officials have initiated discussions with other members of the America East Conference that could lead to a regular-season schedule in men's basketball that poses no conflicts with Tamir Goodman's observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

Chris Monasch, commissioner of the America East, said that there were "informal discussions" regarding Goodman at the conference's regularly scheduled meetings in Boston last week, a couple of days after Goodman's family confirmed that the senior guard from Baltimore will sign a letter of intent with the Tigers next month.

"The mind-set among our members is to do whatever is necessary," Monasch said. "It is up to the affected member to ask the other schools to move games. The only issue is their [Towson's] cost. You have to balance all of the issues involved, such as missed class time and travel arrangements.

"We do have a precedent. A number of coaches in our fall sports are Jewish, and they requested that we don't schedule on Rosh Hashana. We accommodated them."

Goodman, an Orthodox Jew, cannot play or practice between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. His religion and basketball talent made him a media sensation last January after he accepted a scholarship offer from Maryland.

Goodman said he was eventually made to feel unwanted by the Terps' coaching staff, and last month told them he would not accept their offer.

Towson has greater flexibility to move games than does Maryland. Though the America East's television package consists of four regional broadcasts, all but six ACC games will be televised this season.

"There are certainly some issues that come with TV," said Matt Bourque, the America East's assistant commissioner for communications.

"If we had [more] TV, it would be an issue for us. We would be a lot less likely to move a game."

The conference's one nationally televised game this season is the championship of its tournament, which will be played on the afternoon of March 11, a Saturday.

This season's earlier rounds would also have posed a conflict for Goodman, but Monasch said that there is some flexibility in America East's postseason format.

Towson controls its nonconference schedule and its home games, when it would presumably avoid any conflicts for Goodman.

In the America East, teams typically play two conference games each week in January and February, either on Thursday and Saturday or Friday and Sunday.

At several New England schools, ice hockey has greater spectator appeal and receives the prime dates.

Bourque said that next year's conference basketball schedule is close to complete, and the Goodman camp is hopeful that he gave Towson enough time to appeal for Friday road games to be moved back to Thursday and for Saturday road games to be played at night.

"The only reason [Goodman] did this this early was because of the conference meetings," said Harold Katz, Goodman's adviser.

Goodman played for Katz at Talmudical Academy last season, but is now a senior at Takoma Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist school not far from College Park.

A 6-foot-3 guard whose summer included an injury, spotty play and scrutiny, Goodman will join a Towson program that has struggled to gain a foothold in the America East.

The Tigers are again picked to finish near the bottom of a conference that has improved its profile in recent seasons. In Delaware, the America East has a team that has appeared in some preseason Top 25 rankings.

Towson coach Mike Jaskulski has four seniors on this year's roster, but the talent level could pick up next season.

Sam Sutton, a wing type, is sitting out this season after transferring in from St. Francis (Pa.).

Sutton's father is an assistant at Crispus Attucks, a new prep school in York, Pa. The roster there includes former Dunbar stars Dontaz Dean and LaFonte Johnson.

Besides Goodman, the Tigers have received a commitment from Tremaine Robinson, one half of Archbishop Spalding's stellar backcourt.

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