Thousands of pleas prompt KSHSAA to reconsider winter sports fan ban

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas middle and high school sports fan ban is going to be re-considered. The state received thousands of emails from parents, coaches and students around the state pleading spectators be allowed. But there’s another big hurdle ahead, before fans could be allowed at school activities in the state.

Steve Rohleder is a dad of four. His youngest son is a senior swimmer at Blue Valley North.

“I get emotional because you want your last son, all your sons, to enjoy their last memory of high school because it’s such an impressionable age,” Rohleder said.

Thursday night, he and his wife were forced to watch his first swim meet of the season online, after the Kansas State High School Activities Association banned all winter sports spectators through January 28th. The family says the experience of computer viewing the contest with constant buffering was less than ideal.

“I was trying to figure out where Jacob was and absolutely could not tell,” said Rohleder.

That’s why he, and thousands of other families, filed complaints with KSHSAA, hoping to get the fan-ban reconsidered.

“Safety measures are under control and everything is monitored. That would be same with one or two parents in the stands,” said Macksville parent Kayla Burr.

KSHSAA’s director insists no one likes the spectator ban, but believes board members knew it was needed at a time when COVID cases are rising and hospitals filling up.

“This is not ideal, but provides a likelihood we can get through the full winter season with a postseason,” said KSHAA director Bill Faflick.

The board of appeals ultimately agreed to re-consider and allow the full KSHSAA board of directors to decide on allowing one or two parents per participant to attend school events.

“We should be able to enjoy our children’s activities and not have to sit behind a computer,” Rohleder said.

The full 78-member KSHAA board of directors will meet to have the final say on the fan attendance policy Tuesday at 1 p.m.  The meeting will be live streamed on YouTube.

  

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