The Gustavian Weekly

The Desire to Play: Gustie football player petitions for fall season. - The Gustavian Weekly

By John Campisi - Staff Writer | October 2, 2020 | Sports & Fitness

Since March, it seems as if the entire country has revolved around the coronavirus. This pandemic has affected everyone and everything, including Gustavus athletics. MIAC play has been suspended this fall for all sports. This decision canceled the seasons for hundreds of Gustie athletes. Gustie athletes are still able to practice, but many have grown weary of watching Division 1 sports and the Minnesota High School League competing this fall. Senior Football player Austin Fest wants to enact change in the MIAC in lieu of this decision.
Recently, Fest started a petition trying to convince the MIAC to open up fall sports this year, which already has 815 signatures. Fest explains that “other players in the MIAC seem to share the same desire to play, but some do not think that this is a real possibility and thus the petition has slowed down significantly.”
“[We] want to bring back our season—in a similar and SAFE fashion,” Fest said, referring to the guidelines the Minnesota High School League has used.
His petition was inspired by the loss of the football season, but has spread to all fall and winter sports. With Division programs and MSHSL sports continuing athletics this fall, the MIAC has not yet followed suit. The MIAC has reconciled this problem by moving the fall season to the spring, but Fest has concerns.
“For seniors, in particular, this season is a culmination of their athletic careers and achievements. There is no certainty that there will be a spring season, and it is not feasible for many players to stick around for next fall,” Fest said.
This concern has been raised by many. Even though athletes are given another year of eligibility, there are athletes that cannot make that sacrifice and come back for another semester.
“The current backing of the petition demonstrates support [for the upcoming sports season,] but understandably is not completely representative of the MIAC’s stakeholders. I would like to see the MIAC recognize the significance of losing this fall season[…] and formulate a plan this fall for how athletics can successfully return this winter and spring.”
Fest is hopeful his petition can bridge the gap of communication between the MIAC and their athletes. MIAC athletes want to see a plan in action that will set up a way that athletics can proceed, and these seniors can finish out their final year.
“We want to play. We want to be safe. I believe both of those things are possible,” Fest said.
Safety has seemingly been on everyone’s mind as they came back to St. Peter this September. How can Gusties be safe, and at the same time, continue to be involved in sports and other activities? The answer to this predicament will be complex and requires effort on the part of everyone involved.
The football team has been adapting to the risks of coronavirus and are making accommodations and increasing safety in order to play. This has been seen so far with athletes already at Gustavus participating in their sports with masks on, doing daily temperature screenings, and maintaining social distancing while on the field.
“We are already practicing and completing daily COVID screenings, and have already agreed that we will take all necessary safety precautions to play this season.”
With the abrupt ending of spring sports and spring semester, there has been a much longer off season than usual.
With everyone’s help and obedience to safety guidelines, the hope for seasons this year becomes more likely everyday there are successful practices and the coronavirus does not spread.

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