Niagara County mother sues to save high school football

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The state cancelled high school football and that can hurt some student athletes' chances at scholarships if they cannot play in front of recruiters, lawsuit contends.

A Niagara County mother is suing the governor and a host of state sports authorities over the cancelling of high school football.

New York, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, now has “one of the lowest infection rates on the globe,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a July 20 press conference in Savannah, Georgia.

The lawsuit notes that high school football is being played in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania. Both the MAC Conference, in which the Buffalo Bulls play, and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills are playing their schedules.

But high school football is not being played in New York State.

Loraine Humphrey’s lawsuit asks the state a simple question: “How can New Yorkers be NY tough if 36 other states are playing high school football and New York high school students are relegated to flag football?”

Her lawsuit states that there is no scientific basis to cancel high school football while at the same time allowing NCAA, NFL and high school soccer games to play their schedules, especially when the survival rates for younger people remain high. The lawsuit argues that soccer can be as physical as football.

The lawsuit states that the survival rate for people 20-49 yrs old is 99.98% and the CDC says the survival rate for younger people up to age 19 is 99.997%.

As a result, Humphrey, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of her son, a “blue-chip high school football prospect,” says student athletes could lose out on the opportunity for valuable scholarships by being unable to play in front of college recruiters.

Humphrey said Justin, her son, is the senior quarterback for Niagara Falls High School.

“Syracuse University can play college football in Atlantic Coast Conference with home games in a dome and many interstate games in North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky,” her lawsuit states.

“All three states are on the travel advisory list which further proves the hypocrisy in all of this.”

The lawsuit contends that Cuomo’s orders were supposed to be temporary measures until the state flattened the curve.

On June 6, Cuomo tweeted that New Yorkers did the “impossible.”

“We didn’t just flatten the curve-we crushed it. #NYTough,” Cuomo tweeted.

On August 24, Cuomo announced that “lower risk” sports such as soccer and field hockey would play their schedules, but football was left off the list.

“Defendants did not provide a pre- or post- deprivation remedy to question ‘high risk’ or to determine if high school fall football can be played with the same health related protocols as ‘lower risk’ sports or the same health related protocols as the NCAA or NFL. The designation of high school football as ‘high risk’ is random, arbitrary and capricious,” the lawsuit states.

“There is either a public health emergency or there’s not. It cannot be both.”

State officials did not immediately respond to the Niagara County Supreme Court lawsuit.

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