CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dozens of student-athletes, coaches, and parents gathered outside of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District central office Wednesday morning to push school leaders to allow sports in the upcoming school year.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools was scheduled to begin conditioning for fall sports on July 6 but pumped the breaks a few days prior to the start date. The start date has been postponed indefinitely.
The School District released this statement on July 2:
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will not resume athletic activity on our campuses July 6th. We have consulted with local public health officials, discussed readiness with athletic directors, and reviewed current conditions in our County and the state of North Carolina. Our analysis has revealed that there is much uncertainty and many unanswered questions at the present time. In view of those considerations, we believe it is in the best interest of our student athletes and our staff to postpone resumption of on campus athletic activity until we have greater confidence that doing so will be in an environment that protects health. We also have reached out to other districts in our area and elsewhere in the state, and most seem likely to choose to delay the start of activities for the same reasons we choose to do so.”
“They gave us a long list of protocols to follow s our kids go out and condition to keep up with other states. Many other counties did that. Unfortunately, CMS didn’t,” Parent of two Myers Park student-athletes Bryan Crutcher said. “When we see other counties in our state where the kids are out there conditioning, getting ready for fall sports but we’re being prohibited from doing that. It’s tough.”
Many student-athletes who gathered outside of the central office Wednesday expressed their concern for what harm life without sports could have on students.
“People really need high school sports and sports in general because it really does save people from the negativity around us. Especially around with corona [coronavirus] and all the injustices around this world. People need an outlet to be able to express how they feel,” Providence High School football players Jamar Price said.
“I think sports go a long way past the three seasons. These are memories we’ll make for the rest of our lives. I think it’s important to us, our communities, and families,” Senior Myers Park Soccer Player Carter Hensley said.
“I think sports really has a positive impact on the community and the players who play the sport. So I think it’s crucial that we are allowed on the field,” Senior Myers Park Soccer Player Liam Trosch said.
Many students and parents who spoke say they would follow any protocols put in place and have trust in the coaching staff to keep children safe.
“We’re just fighting for something. I know this pandemic is to take seriously and I think we deserve a shot to play at least some kind of ball. That’s what we’re here for and we’re hoping they’ll let us start practice as soon as possible,” Myers Park Senior Drake Maye said. “Our coaches care about us and love us, and I think they could do a good job of creating a safe environment.”
“Yeah, I totally understand that they’re trying to keep everyone safe. I think if they give our coaches the opportunities to keep us safe then why not,” Myers Park Senior football player K’Daron Redfearn said.
“Social distance on the sidelines, wear masks, not share water bottles. I think there are precautions we could take to make it safe to play,” Hensley said.
“While we’re hear protesting, I hope that CMS will actually take head of what we’re asking. And try to find a solution with what we’re asking and try to host a season,” Myers Park Football player Tahj El said.
CMS responded with the following statement:
“CMS continues to evaluate options for enabling a safe return to athletic activities. We anticipate updated guidance from NCHSAA soon, and we continue discussions with local health officials and our athletic directors. We recognize the benefits of athletic participation for student athletes, and it is our desire to have our coaches and student athletes return to preparation and competition when we are confident it is safe to do so.”