MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The announcement to postpone all fall sports until further notice came from Shelby County Schools superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray just after 4:00 p.m., as some teams were preparing for practice.
"We must lean on the guidance of health experts, and not emotions," Ray said in a video message posted on Twitter.
The decision was made with expert input and with safety in mind, but it is impossible to remove the emotion, or the impact, of a lost fall sports season.
"A lot of the kids that were affected by this decision probably need the avenue more than most," Central High School head football coach Major Wright said.
While private and municipality schools play on, SCS athletes lose an opportunity to play, and display, their talents for college recruiters.
"It's not fair to these kids. It's not fair," said Derrick Jordan, a parent of a Kirby High School football player. "Some of these kids, they need this. They need this. And now we're taking away an avenue for them to reach college."
Derrick's son Jaylon Jordan doesn't have to lean on athletics to make it to college. He is in the National Honor Society and sports a 3.75 GPA, but that does little to help soften the blow of losing his junior season.
"You have that hope," Jaylon, a lineman, said. "And you're chasing something to find it, and you get to the end, and it's not there."
Since mid-July, SCS teams have been allowed to hold socially distanced conditioning drills with their players, but not traditional practices or even heat acclimation. Derrick is one of many parents asking why a decision, or plan, did not come sooner.
"I'm still stuck on, why did we not get ahead of this before now? Why?," he said. "We had plenty enough time. The NFL done it, NBA done it, other leagues done it, soccer, tennis. Why couldn't high school get in front of this before September 15."
A peaceful protest outside the Shelby County Schools Board of Education Meeting is scheduled to take place Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.