Student-athletes rally at Ward Melville HS against Section XI's decision to pause sports until 2021
Student-athletes in Suffolk rallied once again, calling on Section XI officials to let them play fall sports on time.
Thursday's rally featured students and parents in the Three Village Central School District, who say athletics officials' decision was a bad one.
High school sports in both Nassau and Suffolk are off the table until next year, when all three seasons are due to be played over a few months.
Olivia Ebenstein is a senior track athlete at Ward Melville High School who put it quite simply.
"It sucks. This team's a family and it's given me so much opportunity and to have that taken away is an experience I'll never get back," says Ebenstein.
The group rallied outside Ward Melville to protest the decision that was made based on COVID-19 concerns. The state did green-light sports to return, and most other areas in the state are going ahead with it.
Section XI, which is the governing body for high school athletics in Suffolk, said in a statement, "While this was a difficult decision, we feel it was the best move for the health and safety of everyone involved."
But students say delaying fall sports will hurt their chances for getting athletic scholarships for college.
"As soon as they canceled sports my hopes just went down the drain and I was devastated," says Brianna Grant.
Parents also say the decision was unfair.
"It's just not acceptable. There have been club sports out there playing. There have been Catholic schools I know are playing. The majority of the state is playing. I don't see why our girls and our athletes in general can't play," says Celeste Grant.
In addition to rallies, students say they're also bombarding Section XI officials with emails, pleading with them to reverse the decision before the fall sports season starts Sept. 21.
Another group of student-athletes held a "Let Them Play" rally in Lindenhurst this evening.