DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) tweeted Friday night that his office is working with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) to approve variances that would allow for a fall football season despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are currently working with CHSAA to approve variances for football and field hockey, and we will work together to develop guidelines or variances for additional sports at a later date and indoor sports when they can safely be played,” the governor said.
He did not offer any additional details about what those variances from state guidelines would entail. Fall football had been previously pushed back to the spring.
This comes a few days after Polis said the Denver Broncos would be allowed to have 5,700 fans attend their second home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that same news conference, the governor said he was hopeful high school football could go on in the fall.
But just a day after the governor's comments, the CHSAA Board of Directors unanimously voted to not reconsider any adjustment to the 2020-2021 calendar.
What has happened next has been jockeying between CHSAA and the governor’s office, which said the organization could have done more with the state to get high school football approved.
“I think there’s a window for additional fall sports that have been talked about,” Polis said during a news conference on Friday. “Not every district is ready to do those. I think many are. I talk regularly with CHSSA. We are doing everything we can to facilitate this.”
Student-athletes held a protest on Friday afternoon, asking to play during the fall.
"It’s more than a sport for so many of us. It’s kind of the reason we wake up in the morning and go into school," said Isaac Abramson, a senior at Lutheran High School. "I’ve been playing as long as I can remember. Going into my senior year, this is when you’re supposed to get recruited. Kind of when colleges start talking to you."
Friday he teamed up with dozens of his opponents on the field, standing united at an intersection in Highlands Ranch asking the governor to let them play.
"There’s still time for us to have a season this year. It’s not too late to reverse the decision," Abramson said. "I’ll wear a mask. I will sign whatever I need to sign. Whatever I can do to play football now is what I’ll do."
A petition to “let them play” has garnered more than 14,000 signatures.
At this point, there’s no word on a potential timeline for if or when fall football could resume.
CHSAA tweeted Friday that it submitted variances for spirit, volleyball, field hockey, gymnastics, soccer and unified bowling in addition to football.
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