Senator urges cancellation of fall sports due to COVID

Staff Reports
State Sen. Cleo Fields

BATON ROUGE – A request by a Baton Rouge state senator could scrap football and other fall sports because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A letter state Sen. Cleo Fields sent to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana School Boards Association urges cancellation of all sports during the fall semester.

“I am requesting the board to include suspension of ALL athletic activities for this fall in any rules adopted regarding reopening of schools for the coming year,” he said in a news release he issued Monday. “This suspension should include all activities of any kind that would include student in-person participation in a group setting, including conditioning, practice and team meetings.”

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education does not currently have a rule in place to protect student athletes, Fields said.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association generally serves as the governing body on prep sports.

The severity and repercussions of the pandemic make the decision too critical and too important for a decision solely from the LHSAA, Fields said.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that the health and safety of our children is placed above any athletic endeavor at any time or place.”

Fields has requested that the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) bring the matter up for a vote at its July 14 meeting.

The LHSAA met June 27 to determine a direction for fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During that meeting, LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said he opposed a swap in the fall and spring seasons. A move into Phase 3 – highly questionable with the recent spike in cases – would be the only way to carry out a fall sports seasons without cancellation of jamborees and the first few games.