TN General Assembly members sign letter encouraging high school sports to continue, some disagree


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — State lawmakers are now weighing in on sports and the impact COVID-19 has had on upcoming seasons.

While some collegiate sports conferences have been canceled, high school sports still have the green light and State Representative Scott Cepicky hopes to keep it that way.

“As a previous athlete myself, I think the negative aspects of stopping sports would be very detrimental to our athletes and our schools as a whole for that matter,” said Cepicky.

The Big Ten and PAC-12 have canceled their football seasons altogether, while others like the SEC have modified theirs.

The TSSAA oversees high school sports in the state. They’ve allowed schools to resume sports with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“I saw what was happening in the Big Ten and SEC and we wanted to make sure that the TSSAA knew that members of the General Assembly were in support of them moving forward with the athletic competition,” said Cepicky.

On Tuesday, a letter was sent to the organization, signed by Cepicky and 19 others in the General Assembly reading, “We strongly urge the TSSAA to move forward with the fall sports season.”

“You look at all of the health protocols that all of our high schools are taking right now, temperature checks, watching our students and keeping them as healthy as possible,” said Cepicky, “I think there are enough measures in place for our kids to safely return to the field.”

Others disagree.

Last week when Cepicky asked other members of the legislature to consider signing the letter, Rep. Antonio Parkinson said he couldn’t support.

“I just couldn’t in good faith support the idea of pushing our children and encouraging our children to be out there playing contact sports,” said Parkinson, “When we know how contagious it is, and how much it’s spreading right now.”

Cepicky believes the data points to lower risks in young people.

“I think they’re doing a fantastic job in mitigating the threats to our student-athletes. When you look at the data that Dr. Piercey and the state, along with the federal CDC guidelines, the least at risk to COVID-19 and its symptoms and consequences are younger people,” said Cepicky.

Parkinson sees it differently.

“I have a great response to that, that’s straight out of the Trump handbook, and it’s unfortunate that it appears that people are just taking the play by play from President Trump, who has been wrong on this from the very beginning,” said Parkinson.

It’s a season of change for football. From the NFL to high school, News 2 digs deeper into the impact COVID-19 is having on the game.
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