By Ken Reed
While most school fall sports seasons across the country have either been cancelled, postponed, or allowed to continue under heavy restrictions due to COVID-19, youth sports have — for the most part — continued on with few changes.
Youth sports organizations have a ton of freedom to do what they want in this country. There is no national youth sports organization with any policy clout. There is no national youth sports policy. There is no national sports minister overseeing sports (like many countries have). In the United States, youth sports leagues and tournaments are free to look for any loopholes in local COVID safety policies they can find in order to keep the games going — and the revenue flowing for youth sports entrepreneurs.
“There are loopholes,” said a frustrated D.C. soccer dad whose son is sitting out his travel team’s games to keep his vulnerable family members safe. “And this virus loves loopholes.”
For the most part, club teams and elite travel teams have continued on unabated, pandemic be damned. If per chance a given youth sports team’s county or state limits youth sports gatherings and activities, these teams will often travel to counties and states that are allowing youth sports competitions.
“He played about 60 games this summer,” said one baseball mom about her son’s team.
Kids (and their parents) that decide to sit out this youth sports season because of family concerns about spreading the coronavirus to vulnerable family members worry that they will fall behind their teammates who continue to compete. It’s not an unfounded fear. Kids across the country have been dropped from their elite club teams for sitting out this season due to COVID-19.
It’s a strange situation. In many cases, kids aren’t allowed to go to school due to COVID safety policies, but are allowed to gather in fairly large groups to practice and play games.
“How come we can’t send our kids to school but this (playing youth sports) is okay?” asked one parent.
Good question. Good question indeed.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
- "How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Ken Reed's Author Page on Amazon
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
A League of Fans Special Report