Talk of transfers comes with push for Wichita BOE to reverse fall-sports decision

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 7:16 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Approaching a week since the Wichita Public School Board of Education’s decision to cancel fall sports and activities, athletes and coaches across the district have spoken up, voicing opposition in organized demonstrations and on social media. Some coaches have said players may transfer if the school board and its new COVID-19 advisory committee don’t reverse the canceled-season decision.

Wichita Northwest High School Head Football Coach Steve Martin has been among the leaders pushing for fall sports to happen for schools in the Wichita district. On Tuesday, players turned in practice jerseys at Northwest High School, conceding that at least for now, the season isn’t happening.

Players and coaches at Northwest say they don’t want anyone to transfer, but many want and even say they need the opportunity to play. The situation is especially difficult for high school seniors that were hoping to make enough of an impression this fall to earn scholarship offers.

“It’s been hard because, like, my whole life I’ve been building, trying to go to college, trying to play football, go to the next level,” Northwest senior football player Zaire Adkins said. “And without that, I don’t really know what to do.”

Martin said he wants USD 259 to hear how much canceling the upcoming season impacts his players. He said Adkins and others need fall sports to go to college.

“(Adkins) has had a tremendous offseason. He has had a tremendous summer. He had a tremendous four days of practices, and then, he just saw his opportunity go, like that,” Martin said of the senior cornerback. “he has no film. What’s he supposed to do now?”

Without an opportunity to earn a football scholarship, Adkins said he’ll likely get a job and try to make enough to pay to further his education. He said he’s afraid many of the student-athletes he knows will now look to transfer to a district that isn’t canceling the season.

“I’m going to lose some of my best kids who I’m attached to, but at the end of the day, I understand that they have to make the best decision for them and their family, and they’ve got to go where sports are allowed. And if it’s half a mile down the road to get that able to happen, who can blame them?”

Wichita Public Schools Athletic Director J. Means said he understands students want to transfer to play, but warned that they need to be careful. The Kansas State High School Activities Association has rules in place that prevent immediate sports eligibility after a student transfers schools.

“If you do not make a bonafide move, but change schools, then you’re going to be sitting out a year, and that’s a rule that changed to come in effect this year,” Means said. “So those are still the policies that are in place from KSHSAA.”

Means is also part of the COVID-19 advisory committee that will be a part of the decision-making process on whether fall sports will happen for schools in USD 259. On Tuesday, Means said the committee plans to meet in the next couple of days to discuss playing this season.

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