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Kent students, parents push district to let them play sports this year

Football fans watch a high school game against Irvin High School from outside the fence at Jefferson High School on Nov. 13, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. Due to COVID-19 precautions amid a surge of coronavirus cases the game was played the stands empty. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Kent School District was going to start organized sports Feb. 1 — in line with the timeline from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association — but now has said athletics won’t return before Feb. 22. An email to athletic directors indicated that sports in the district will start once students can safely return to in-person classes, but Kent families worry that won’t happen anytime soon.

Kent Meridian coach says sports could offer schedule, normalcy for students

Students in Kent say they just want to play ball. Some student-athletes and parents held a rally Wednesday afternoon at school district headquarters to try to save sports from being cut this year.

Nate Beck is the student who organized the rally. He told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show that not playing could keep some students from getting college scholarships because they won’t have game video to send to recruiters.

“I know a lot of friends that are seniors this year and need that senior film, that last couple clips, to send out to college coaches that are on the verge of giving these kids scholarships and really life-changing opportunities,” Beck said. “So a lot of these kids use football as a tool to get them to college.”

“A lot of states — I think the number is somewhere in the thirties — played football in the fall, and so a lot of those kids have their junior and senior tapes for colleges,” Beck added. “And I’m sitting here just trying to, hoping for an opportunity to get my junior film because that’s what the college coaches that I’ve talked to want to see.”

Parents and students say other, neighboring school districts that have allowed some sports to return to play puts Kent athletes at a disadvantage.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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