Fair Treatment for Student-Athletes at UT Martin - Postpone Intramurals

Fair Treatment for Student-Athletes at UT Martin - Postpone Intramurals

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Aalia Bivens started this petition to UT Martin

To Whom It May Concern:

            I am writing this letter to express our concern with the fact that UT Martin is allowing Intramural Sports to continue in the midst of a Global Pandemic. The same Global Pandemic that abruptly halted the Spring semester, resulting in students having to adjust to online learning, against our will and contrary to our intentions for our education at the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester. The same Global Pandemic that tragically ended my, and many others’, Senior Spring season. This cancellation led us to have to reconfigure our academic career or forego the remainder of our college eligibility. I cannot express enough the toll that this took on our mental health and well-being.

This is the same Global Pandemic that resulted in the NCAA postponing all Fall sports for the 2020-21 academic year and resulted in the Hybrid method of instruction for the Fall 2020 semester. If it is inappropriate to participate in in-person instruction for the vast majority of our courses and it is inappropriate for athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics, for which we are on scholarship for, then how is it appropriate for intramurals to continue? If administration is asking student organizations to keep their gatherings to a minimum, how is it appropriate for intramurals to continue?

Within the first three weeks of classes, athletics has already been shut down, required to practice for an abbreviated time, and suffered the loss of fall schedules. The NCAA and the athletics department have both enacted stringent policies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of the athletes on campus. This includes symptom monitoring, required masks, social distancing, and even testing. Even with these extreme measures, we have faced outbreaks and required quarantines. There is no doubt that intramurals would lead to a similar outcome if testing was required. What are the safety measures that are being put in place to ensure that students don’t face the same outcomes that student-athletes have faced? Will there be similar quarantine requirements due to contact tracing that athletes faced? One positive case has resulted in entire programs being shut down for two weeks. Will this be the same procedure if there is an outbreak in a sorority or other intramural team as a result of their participation? How can you even contact trace if you aren’t testing as a result of participation in intramurals? This feels as though student-athletes are being unfairly punished as a result of their participation in athletics. Other students are not facing similar quarantine and isolation procedures because they are not being tested the same way that we are.

The fact that the university and the OVC has deemed it appropriate to cancel intercollegiate athletics for the fall semester, because it is unsafe for student-athletes who are on campus partially for this participation, would lead one to conclude that intramurals should also be postponed until the Spring semester and until COVID-19 is not as much of an imminent threat to the student body and the campus as a whole.

Respectfully,

 

UT Martin Student-Athletes

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