CHICO, Calif. - Rival coaches in Chico are coming together with one common goal: get athletes back into competition.
Some California athletes have not had the chance to compete for over a year, and coaches are getting fed up.
"I am very concerned about the student-athletes in Chico, particularly those who are not getting a chance to participate in sports. It is vital to their mental health and educational experience, said Jason Alvistur.
Jason Alvistur is the Varsity Football Coach and Athletic Director at Chico High School.
He has teamed up with Pleasant Valley Varsity Football Coach - Mark Cooley - to try and get all athletes back into the competition.
They say they're not the only ones in California fighting for students. There is a Facebook page called 'Let them Play California.'
"I encourage any parent or person who has a stakeholder in sports, in general, should get on and join that Facebook page. To let people know we have a voice and we want to be heard and we are advocating for our students," said Mark Cooley
"Coach Cooley says there haven't been fans in their bleachers for a football game in over a year. It is no different at Chico High, Coach Alvistur says he is starting to notice some of his players are getting what he calls 'COVID Fog.'
"They are not getting the rewards of all their hard work. I have seen athletes in all sports and genders field hockey, volleyball, football, cross county, who are getting to start workouts, and are overjoyed with just getting to start, but it is not enough," said Alvistur.
The National Federation of State High School Associations has a map that shows the states that have allowed or not allowed high School sports to have a season in the Fall of 2020. The map is from the end of October. There were 14 states that had no changes to their schedules, 30 states that had modified schedules, but still had seasons (that includes Alaska and Hawaii). Then there's the last group of seven states (including California) that canceled Fall competition altogether.
Coach Cooley says not only is this impacting athletes mentally, but it's hurting their chances of playing in the future.
"These other states who are now being able to get recruited from colleges because they have game film. Our athletes here in California do not have that opportunity. It is a huge disadvantage to them, our seniors the class of 2021 it doesn't matter what sport they are being hurt drastically because they do not have that," said Mark Cooley.
Both coaches add this is not political, they say it is simply a movement, by coaches, parents, and athletes across the state of California to get athletes back into competition.