Student-athletes rally for fall sports season

VIDEO: Student athletes rally for fall sports season

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Student-athletes in Washington are fighting to win their fall sports season back.

Thursday, about 100 athletes gathered at the Capitol calling on Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

“There’s athletes out there that are willing to do anything to have a fall season,” said Milton Hopkins Jr., O’Dea High School’s senior quarterback

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Without fall football, he fears missing his final year of high school play could put possible college scholarships on the line.

“They’re all just waiting to see what I’ll do for the senior season,” he said.

Hopkins was one of about 100 of students who gathered at the Capitol on Thursday hoping to get state leaders’ attention.

“I would say, hey, we hear you, we want to be out there more than anything,” said Mick Hoffman, Director WIAA.

Hoffman said Inslee recommended schools postpone extracurricular activities. If school districts defy the governor’s recommendation, it could affect liability.

“Risk management groups came out and informed our schools that if they did not follow recommendations by the Department of Health and the Governor’s Office that there could be insurance concerns, so that, in turn, really prevented schools from offering anything, even the schools that really wanted to do it,” said Hoffman.

Many college sports are also postponed.

Hoffman said sports can’t start until coronavirus cases consistently stay down in Washington.

“Right now we have a recommendation, the metrics need to be 25 per 100,000 for over 14 before we’re at a low risk,” he said.

He wished he could give students better news.

“We get it from a very humanistic point of view so, kids, ask the questions, we will give you the answers whether they’re favorable or not. We’re not going to lie. We’re not doing to dodge tough questions. It’s a miserable situation to be in it for all of us, and we’re going to make the best of it,” said Hoffman.

Students at the rally said they’d take every safety precaution necessary to play.

“If we have a season we’re happy to do whatever precautions they’re willing to take, including daily testing or quarantine here or there and stuff like that or a shortened season, as long as we’re able to have one,” said Hopkins.

“With us protesting and being able to fight for our season is kind of a blessing,” said Lonyatta Alexander Jr., Kennedy Catholic senior.

The WIAA said current recommendations will be reviewed this fall. They’ll also look to see how other states, which are allowing sports, are doing during the pandemic.

The high school winter sports season in Washington is scheduled to start in late December.