Waterville High School students Gavin Poyer and Gabe Williams, along with friend Caleb Decker of Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School, sent this letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Health and the state Public High School Athletic Association.
The three student athletes also started a petition which can be found at www.change.org/p/andrew-m-cuomo-reverse-the-cancellation-of-the-new-york-state-golf-state-championships.
We are writing today to implore those with decision-making power to reverse what we characterize as the premature decision to cancel the spring sports championship tournaments.
We raise this call to action for a multitude of reasons, including the roll out of the vaccine, proof that low-risk sports have been held safely for months, and that these tournaments are crucial for student-athletes seeking college recognition and scholarships.
NYSPHSAA has canceled the spring sports state tournaments 4 months in advance. With a vaccine rolling throughout New York, nearly 10% of New York’s population has had at least one dose of the vaccine.
With more doses coming from Pfizer and Moderna every week and more companies getting their vaccine approval, people who are at high risk for suffering fatal complications from Covid will be vaccinated by the time these state tournaments are played.
These vaccines are extremely successful in reducing the COVID transmission rates and symptoms. With the right plans and safety procedures in place, these tournaments can be played safely.
We have been playing golf since last March. We have participated in numerous junior and other privately facilitated tournaments since that time without incident.
Golf courses, teams, players and coaches have followed the strict guidelines with success. As a sport, golf is inherently distanced and solitary. Golf courses have put mechanisms in place so that players do not even need to pick the ball up out of the hole.
For all intents and purposes golf is a contactless sport. Golf courses have been busier than ever and yet COVID transmission rates are non-existent on public golf courses.
If this premature decision is upheld this would be the second year in a row that we, as student-athletes, would lose the opportunity to prove ourselves at the tournament level.
If this premature action is upheld, student-athletes will lose tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money as well as stand to lose possible recruitment from colleges.
We implore NYSPHSAA, the Governor’s office, and New York State Department of Health to rethink this decision and consider a tournament schedule for each individual sport.
Please help by signing the petition to have NYSPHSAA relook at their premature decision of canceling the spring sport state tournaments and in particular, consider reinstating the state championships for golf.
Then share on different platforms to get more signatures. Thank you.