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Former All-SEC punter Andy Smith Understands trying To Balance playing Football with Safety For Everyone

By LARRY VAUGHT

As coaches and athletes comprehend the chance to start really getting ready for high school football season, parents also have to think about what is best for the safety of players.

Former UK all-SEC punter Andy Smith has a son, Jackson, who is a junior at Boyle County High School. He’s the top rated kicker in the 2022 recruiting class who just recently got a scholarship offer from Kentucky. He’s also a receiver and linebacker.

“It is unfortunate in a pandemic that there are more important things than football,” said Andy Smith. “If they don’t play this fall, at least now he has got a (Division I/SEC scholarship) offer.”

Andy Smith wavers almost daily on his feelings for football this fall.

“You can read things and a lot are slanted and political,” Andy Smith said. “I obviously don’t know the right answer on what to do.

“You are going to have kids who will test positive. Can you just figure out how to deal with that? It is such an unknown on how this affects people. It’s pretty clear nobody really knows a lot about it. 

“Selfishly for the kids’ sake, I want them to play. But even just going back to school is such a mental thing, especially for younger kids who have already missed school during quarantine.

“But on the other hand I do  not want to have the risk of something awful happening to kid or have a kid carry it home to more vulnerable people. It’s a tough spot for the KHSAA to make the determination.”

Andy Smith says he would sign a waiver to let his son play knowing there is a risk. 

“I get this is more serious than a flu season. It is going to be around. We have to find a way to deal with it and protect the vulnerable,” Andy Smith said. “It is frustrating but there is so much more to this than sports. I also know it is kids only time in high school. It’s just a bad situation with no good answers.”

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as http://www.yoursportsedge.com/, and http://www.cameronmillsradio.com/. Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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