As the West Virginia University football team was preparing to host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, a group of Monongalia residents were protesting Saturday morning.
The protests were about how high school kids in the Monongalia county are missing out on in-person school and the cancellation of football games. Football players, coaches, and parents were representing Monongalia high schools such as: Trinity Christian School, University High School, and Morgantown High School.
The protest occurred at the corner of 705 and Willowdale Road. Throughout the morning, groups would take turns marching up to Milan Puskar Stadium, where WVU football plays and back to their corner.
What started the outrage within the community was when Governor Jim Justice canceled all high school football games on Friday, September 4th in the Monongalia county due to being in the “red” on the COVID map, indicating a large amount of positive COVID tests. Justice canceled the games hours before they were supposed to kick off.
Terry Haseleu, a resident of Monongalia, had some sympathy for the kids affected.
“Our kids have been together all summer long,” Haseleu said. “They were ready to get back to school and play football. They practiced all summer long with masks on just to get some normalcy back.”
A few of the protesters showed their anger for WVU bringing students back for the school year, blaming them for the rise in positive COVID tests in the county. Jason Lawrence, a parent of a football player in the county, commented on what the real problem is right now.
“We have nothing against WVU playing football,” Lawrence said. “You know they’re being tested; they’re allowed to play. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem that we have is that the governor isn’t listening and applying some logic to the damage that he’s doing to our kids. Everybody else seems to be moving along and getting along with their lives and the ones being punished are the kids in our community.”
A lot of high school football players from all three schools also participated in the protests today expressing their anger for not being able to play. A lot of signs that read, “Let Us Play”, “We Stand Up”, and “If They Can Play, We Can Play” were made.
Joseph McBee is a senior football player for University High School. McBee expressed the struggles of being a senior trying to get recruited.
“As a high school football player who may want to try and get recruited, we can’t do that because we can’t even play,” McBee said. “We can’t practice, and we can’t even physically go to school. Some of us are playing our senior season of football after looking forward to it for three years. Now it’s our fourth year and everything we worked for is now taken away from us.”