FRANKFORT, Ky. — A growing group of student-athletes and parents are calling on Gov. Andy Beshear (D) to let the 2020 fall sports season begin.
What You Need To Know
- Dozens rally at capitol for 2020 fall sports season
- KHSAA votes to go forward with fall sports season
- Fall sports plan requires approval from Beshear, Kentucky departments of education and public health
- Parents, students share why they want to play
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association voted to allow a shortened fall sports season with practices slated to begin this week; however, Beshear, the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Kentucky Department of Public Health still need to review and approve the plan. A large group took to the Kentucky State Capitol with a message for Beshear: let them play.
“We just want them to have a chance to engage them with a love for their mental and emotional health,” said Amy Wills, a mother of a soccer player at Henry Clay High School in Lexington.
The rally was organized from a new group on Facebook, “Let Them Play," The page was formed Friday and has already gained more than 30,000 likes.
The students in attendance at the rally say many classes starting virtually, sports could help make things look somewhat normal.
"This is a chance for normality to start returning. I had my spring soccer season canceled because of COVID, which was a big bummer,” said Brandon Wills, a sophomore soccer player at Henry Clay High School in Lexington. “It hurt a lot to see what I love to go out the window with nothing I could do about it.”
Several seniors were also in attendance fighting for one last chance to play the sports they spent their whole high school careers playing.
"I don't want to give up my very last season with some of my best friends and the best people I've ever known,” said Madeline Radcliffe, a senior soccer player at Cooper High School in Boone County. “My coaches are amazing, and I love my teammates to death, and I just can't even imagine not being able to play one last season.”
“It’s my last opportunity to ever play football again so I was just wanting to get this last one and make it a good one,” added Perrin Whitt, a senior football player at Western Hills High School in Frankfort.
Aside from the desire to finish out the last season in high school for many student-athletes, sports are their ticket to college.
"It really hurts honestly because I’m relying on my senior year to get to a scholarship and stuff like that,” said Alan Shultz, a senior football player at Western Hills High School. “So it really sucks I may not be able to get a scholarship because I can’t play my senior year.”
New coronavirus cases are in an elevated four-week plateau but remain high and have been affecting younger Kentuckians throughout the summer. Despite the pandemic, athletes and parents say they would like to play.
"I know that there's definitely a risk that I can catch the virus from playing, but to me, it seems like a risk worth taking,” said Radcliffe. “This is my last year, I'd rather risk it all to play one last time than give it up if I don’t have to.”
“We all recognize the pandemic. And we all recognize the risk, and we all recognize there's a possibility that we might not last,” said Dawne Perkins, organizer of the Facebook group. "But we're just like, 'just give us an opportunity.'”
Many of the parents in attendance believe they can safely resume fall sports without the athletes contracting the virus.
"I know in Fayette County, they've done an excellent job of reinforcing it. Our students have done a good job of adhering to what the coaches are instructing,” said Amy Wills. "And if we follow good leadership, I don't think we will have a problem."