By Hailey Sloan, Joshua Moore, Lauren Sauder, Nicholas Page, Shelby Woodyard, and Shea Vance.
The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) awards unearned special treatment to high school football programs. Most sports programs, exempt from tennis, golf, cross country, softball, and football, were postponed to a later season than planned. Football, however, sticks out like a sore thumb from this group, as cross country, softball, tennis, and golf are all socially distant by nature, and the latter two require masks at all times. Football does not match these requirements that seem to be met by the other outdoor sports, as it is a high-contact sport where close huddles and face-to-face collisions are not uncommon. Even boys’ soccer, a sport with arguably less contact, will be starting their postponed season in March with required masks.
While other fall sports had their seasons moved to a later date, a few were able to keep their original schedule. It makes sense that some of these sports would be on the list; tennis and golf are almost entirely non-contact sports and social distancing is fairly easy in cross country and softball. None of these things are easy or applicable in football. However, with CHSAA’s blessing, football was given the chance to play in the fall instead of postponing their season. All other sports with even the smallest chance of contact, such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball, were postponed to the spring. Grouping like-sports together and moving them all to a later time would have been the most fair decision for all of the students. Alas, higher-ups allowed football to be played in the fall despite the risk they knew would be put on the students. Worse yet, when the mere possibility of postponement loomed over the sport, football players from around the state protested against the decision. It wasn’t even that the state was cancelling the football season, they were just planning on delaying it in order to keep the students safe. Football somehow managed to avoid postponement while other sports had no other choice.
The football program was not held to the same Covid regulations and standards as other sports. The five fall sports were held outdoors during their seasons. During tennis practices and games, players were not allowed to touch each other, had to social distance, and were not allowed to even use the same balls. Football was given similar regulations yet they did not follow them and were not held accountable. Football players didn’t replace their masks on the sidelines and would frequently chest bump and hug on the sidelines. This was explicitly prohibited by the CHSAA Covid Regulations, but resulted in no consequences for the players. Football players were also allowed to play with no masks in a contact sport while other sports were required to have masks the entire time they played, even if they weren’t a contact sport. How is it fair that a totally contact sport, full of pushing, shoving, and tackling, is able to get away with a lack of mask usage while sports that heavily enforce social distancing still mandate masks at all times?
Due to the unfair postponement of certain sports under CHSAA’s direction and the poor enforcement of the already lacking COVID regulations, it’s clear that high school football programs, including the one at Heritage, receive special treatment from CHSAA. This hurts the other athletes at Heritage as well as every other high school in Colorado, as college opportunities and general enjoyment are being sacrificed for safety while the same safety regulations are not being taken seriously with football.
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