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CHSAA releases statement on HS Football

Commissioner resubmits request to play high school football in the fall
Football players protest against CHSAA's decision to play in the spring
Football players protest against CHSAA's decision to play in the spring(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 10:40 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - On Friday, high school football players from Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, and Delta gathered with their families to protest CHSAA’s decision to keep the 2020 football season in the spring.

"Other states are playing so it’s kind of discouraging that we’re not. “it’s a little discouraging because you have this hope that we’re going to play, and then the next day,” says Yahir Chavez, Hotchkiss.

On Monday, September 7, Governor Jared Polis was supportive of fall football, but just 24 hours later, CHSAA unanimously voted to not make any changes to the decision to play in the spring. On Wednesday, CHSAA released a statement saying quote “All students have an opportunity to play a season during the 2020-21 school year.”

On Saturday, after the protest, CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green released a statement:

"Much has occurred this week that has put CHSAA, as well as myself, front and center. Parties have questioned our credibility, integrity, and honesty, even our commitment to the students of Colorado and those we serve yet they are doing so without all the facts before them.

Until today, I have not felt the need to defend myself or our team because I know the vast amount of work and communications that have occurred behind the scenes since June in collaboration with the Governor’s staff to resume all sports in their traditional seasons with the modifications and variances needed to get that done. I have included one of the many communications, in order to stop the noise and finger-pointing so that the Commissioner, the CHSAA staff, the CHSAA Board of Directors and the Governor’s team can move forward and focus on what matters right now – the safe resumption of sports in these uncertain times.

All parties are working diligently together towards a resolution.

First the approval of safety plans and variances must be secured from the Governor. Then, with the additional voices of CHSAA member administrators, decisions will be made by the CHSAA Board based on new information that was not available this past Tuesday.

I will take this moment to thank the Board of Directors for their commitment and dedication to education-based athletics and activities, as they have handled this past week with professionalism and grace which wasn’t extended to them.

This morning, modified safety implementation plans and variance requests with additions were resubmitted to the Governor’s team for their approval.

We are in a pandemic and the safety of the eco-system of sports means that the approval of resumption plans by our state and health officials must be scrutinized much different than your weekend youth and recreation sports. We are an extension of 363 member schools. Our implementation cannot undermine the primary purpose for interscholastic (not club, recreation) participation which is Education First!

We will continue to be the gatekeepers even in the face of public outcry and singular sport focus to advocate vehemently for 180,000 student-participants, our member schools (public/charter and private) to resume all 29 athletics and activities for the State of Colorado."

Having a season in the spring also brings other factors. Some parents say for those who live in the mountain, playing in the spring isn’t ideal due to the snowfall in February. Some students are worried about being recruited for the2021 fall season.

“I’ve had a few colleges reach out and say they’re still going to recruit us Colorado kids here but there are others that say we’re not going to be able to offer you until we see your senior film. There 40 other states right now that those coaches are able to watch. That’s a huge dent into getting recognized here,” says Delta Senior, Nolan Bynum.

And for other players, sports are a way to motivate players to keep their grades up in the classroom.

“People don’t do as well in school. My grades are up because of school. If I don’t have the good grades, I don’t get to play so it’s hard for me and a lot of other people,” says Olathe Senior, Wyatt Mansker.

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