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'Let Them Play' movement hits Frankfort as students, coaches rally at Capitol

Posted at 1:20 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 18:32:40-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Roughly 200 student-athletes, their coaches, and parents came together on Governor Andy Beshear's doorstep on Monday morning. You could say the rally was a hail mary to get the governor to sign off on a fall sports proposal the Kentucky High School Athletics Association put forth last week.

"This isn't just about sports," said Cooper High School head soccer coach Scott Hughes. "This is about teaching them how to exercise their First Amendment rights, and sports is also about their mental health," he added.

Like many coaches across the state, Hughes feels the kids' health and safety will be best managed in a controlled setting, rather than having them off on their own.

"We know where the kids are, we're able to talk to them on a daily basis, we're able to screen them on a daily basis, and so it's a much more controlled atmosphere. Whatever risks are out there, we're able to mitigate them," Hughes said.

Beshear's office hasn't yet received the KHSAA's proposal. A spokesperson for the governor said they weren't sure a protest was necessary given no final determination on the fall sports season been made. Beshear expects to have that proposal by mid-week. After then, he's supposed to make recommendations, if not a ruling.

The student-athletes, many of whom lost their spring season in March, want to play.

"I definitely think COVID is real, and it's taken a toll on a lot of people, and I understand that," said Emily Coke from the Frederick Douglass soccer team. "I feel like me, and the girls and the coaches have been very firm on keeping us at a distance and listening to the rules that have been put in play."