Online petition urging Florida high school sports to be played this fall gathers more than 25,000 signatures

A statewide online petition urging high school sports to be played this fall already has more than 25,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning. 

The petition was started Tuesday by Jaime Kent, the father of Cambridge Christian middle linebacker Noah Kent.  

“I want to be an advocate for the kids,” Jaime said. “I want them to have a season and this is something that gives people a voice who want the same thing with the right protocols and safety measures in place.”

In the past two days, the petition gained traction on social media with players, parents and coaches using the hashtags #WeWantToPlay and #LetThemPlay. 

The goal is to have fall sports start on Aug. 24, the date practices are scheduled to begin after the Florida High School Athletic Association’s board of directors voted to push back the original start date of July 27 at their last meeting. 

“For the Class of 2021 athletes who have been working hard their entire high school careers, this season is their final chance to showcase their talent for college scholarships,” the petition said. “Unlike college players they can’t defer a year and still be eligible to play and they need this year to make the opportunity to receive a college education possible. Their futures are hanging in the balance.”

Noah, a rising senior who has spent his entire high school career on varsity, had his past two seasons cut short due to injury. He put on 60 pounds of muscle this offseason and now weighs 220. Several colleges that have already shown interest but are searching for more film in the evaluation process. 

On Friday, the FHSAA’s board meets again to determine when to proceed with the fall sports calendar. Kent said he plans to send the results of the petition to Cambridge Christian Mark Butler and have it shared with FHSAA board members.