MATTHEWS, N.C. (WBTV) - Parents and students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools received mixed messages about the future of school sports during the 2020-2021 academic year Thursday.
The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday afternoon that that the district returned a questionnaire to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association saying it would not allow student-athletes to play sports while in remote learning.
Just last week, the CMS Board of Education voted for schools to begin the 2020-2021 school year with fully remote learning.
The district clarified its plans for sports Thursday night. CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston released the following statement:
“CMS’ position regarding athletics has not changed. No ultimate decision will be reached until the NCHSAA announces information regarding the Fall sports athletic season. The NCHSAA sent a pulse survey to gauge current thoughts from superintendents across the state. As I answered that survey, I weighed recent information into my thinking. That includes such information as COVID cases amongst our employees and COVID cases in our facilities. That said, my thinking in response to questions in the pulse survey do not represent a change in the district’s position,” Winston said.
WBTV spoke to a local student-athlete regarding the future of sports in CMS. Korey Hunter, a senior at Butler High School, plays on the school’s football team. Hunter is a free safety and aspires to play football in college.
"It's a way for me to go to college, possibly go to college for free," Hunter told WBTV in an interview Thursday night.
Hunter’s mother, Tabatha, said her son gets good grades and has worked hard to get better at football.
“He’s overcome an injury. He’s overcome many things and his senior year is what he needs to get his dream and CMS is possibly taking it from him,” said Tabatha Hunter.
She said her son has been contacted by Division II, Division III and Ivy League schools about playing football.
While playing football in college is a real possibility for Korey Hunter, he and his mother both feel he needs his senior season to show coaches and scouts what he can do on the field.
The student-athlete told WBTV he was angry and sad when he heard the district was not going to allow fall sports to happen.
"At first I felt numb just because right when I feel like we're getting closer and closer, it keeps getting taken right away from us," said Korey Hunter.
Both Korey and his mother said they feel that football can be safely played during the pandemic.
Tabatha Hunter said the family would be willing to relocate so that Korey can continue playing football in a district that allows student-athletes to play.
The concerned mother is urging CMS to make a firm decision about the future of sports for the upcoming academic year.
“Stop dragging your feet and make a decision so us as parents can decide what we need to do for our kids,” said Tabatha Hunter.