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Student-athlete group in Washington petitions for fall sports

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 31, 2020

Ferris quarterback Jack Clavel (12) runs the ball for a first down as Central Valley Sam Brown (40) tries to tackle during a GSL high school football game, Fri., Sept. 20, 2019, at Joe Albi Stadium.  (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Ferris quarterback Jack Clavel (12) runs the ball for a first down as Central Valley Sam Brown (40) tries to tackle during a GSL high school football game, Fri., Sept. 20, 2019, at Joe Albi Stadium. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A group calling itself the Student Athletes of Washington (SAW) has set up an online petition asking Gov. Jay Inslee to lift the restrictions in place due to the pandemic to allow for the resumption of fall sports.

The group of high school athletes was organized by several football players from the west side of the state. They hope to hold a rally Thursday in Olympia to gain attention to the request.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 9,600 had signed the electronic petition.

“We feel that our voice is not one that is being considered or heard, as it feels that those in positions to make decisions on our behalf are not looking at things from our collective point of view,” the petition said.

In conjunction with Inslee’s Safe Start Washington plan, in July the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association modified its sports calendar from three seasons to four, moving fall sports to the WIAA Season 3 in the spring, tentatively scheduled March 1-May 2.

High schools in 34 states, including Idaho, are participating in fall football with protocols and restrictions in place for COVID. Washington, Oregon and California are among the other states that are postponing football and other fall sports until 2021.

Many school districts throughout the state will be starting classes remotely or using a hybrid system.

“We all want our students participating and the WIAA is ready when we are given clearance from the Governor’s Office and the Department of Health,” WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman told ScorebookLive.com.

The petition lists several factors for the return to sports in the fall, including youth depression, uncertain home situations, increased stress on single parents and ability to earn scholarships.

“For many of us who come from families who are struggling financially, we use athletics combined with success in the classroom to better ourselves,” the petition says. “This gives us the potential to hopefully play at the next level … but only if we are able to showcase these abilities to those at the collegiate level.”

Most leagues throughout the state, including the Greater Spokane League, have already altered their schedules to prepare for a spring season.

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