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TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2007
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AHSAA denies Hoover Sunday game on ESPN

HOOVER (AP) — The Alabama High School Athletic Association, citing a ban on Sunday games, has put in jeopardy plans by Hoover High to play an Ohio prep football power on ESPN2.

The AHSAA Central Board of Control voted unanimously Wednesday in denying Hoover's request to play Colerain High in a Sept. 2 game at Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. The Labor Day Weekend matchup was to be aired live on ESPN2 at 12:37 p.m. as part of the third annual Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge.

"Sunday is a day of worship," AHSAA executive director Dan Washburn said when citing the reason for denying Hoover's application to play an out-of-state opponent.

Hoover, which had won four straight state Class 6A football championships before losing in the finals last season, is familiar with national television exposure. It was featured on MTV's reality show "Two-A-Days."

Washburn said there's no specific written rule that prohibits games from being played on a Sunday but it's a policy established through practice.

He said a game could be played on Sunday only under emergency circumstances. Washburn cited Sunday's game three of the Class 6A semifinal baseball series between Shades Valley and Hillcrest of Tuscaloosa as an example. Bad weather forced suspension of play Friday, and the two teams played a doubleheader Saturday.

Hoover coach Rush Propst told The Birmingham News in a story Monday that it's uncertain if the game can be moved to a Friday or Saturday or if ESPN2 would be able to air it on a different date. He said any change would create logistical problems for fans and would be a big financial loss without TV revenue.

He said the ruling was unfair and that the lack of a solid rule prohibiting Sunday play bothered him. "It looks to me, it's an anti-Hoover move," Propst said.

Washburn said that comment was "way out of line."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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