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WA student: High school athletes unnecessarily losing opportunities

High school football jerseys are seen in the stands before a game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 20, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Numerous student athletes from Washington state high schools are continuing to put pressure on the governor and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) in order to save their senior year season, which was previously delayed several months by the WIAA.

The students believe this puts them at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting into college, and started an organization called Student Athletes for Washington to make their voices heard. Sam Huard is a student activist and a quarterback at Kennedy Catholic. He joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss.

“Look, if we didn’t feel there was a safe way to actually be playing sports this fall, we wouldn’t be fighting as hard as we are for it. But I think as we’ve kind of gone on now and seen what’s happening — Maryland just flipped today — I think there’s about 39 or 40 states now playing fall sports. That’s about 80% of our country playing fall sports right now,” Huard said.

“I think what’s really hard on a lot of us is that we have to turn on the TV, and we check social media, and we’re seeing these other states, these high school athletes across the country, get these opportunities that we’re not right now,”  he added. “And even our COVID numbers are a lot better than pretty much all of these states, and I think that’s what’s really frustrating is knowing that we can do this in a safe way as we’ve seen about 80% of our country now do.”

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Huard says he and other athletes are fully aware of the risks during a pandemic, but that the authorities seem to be picking and choosing aspects of teen health to be concerned with.

“The main thing that they really told us is they’re just really worried about the health and safety of the student athletes and the coaches … but I think one of the other main questions that brings up is as much as they’re really focused on the health and safety of us as athletes, they don’t seem to have any answers for our questions regarding mental health,” he said.

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“And the increasing teen suicide and juvenile crime within our state, and a lot of other really negative side effects that are coming with not being in school, and not playing sports, and not having anything to do this fall,” he added.

Colleges looking to recruit players may end up passing on local athletes, Huard says, which leads to a major disadvantage and discourages student athletes going forward.

“With us being pushed back in the spring, these colleges are just going to look at these other states playing right now and try to find their people that they want to fit their programs there, and just basically move on from the people who aren’t playing now, which is really discouraging,” he said.

“I know so many teammates and so many other players across the state,” Huard said, “who have just worked so hard their entire lives to try to get that opportunity to play at the next level.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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