Tarrant youth football causing debate between city, school system, parents

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Tarrant, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Tarrant will have youth sports, including football, for the first time in 19 years, according to city leaders.

So far, there are eight teams and more than 200 kids have signed up. However, they don’t have a place to play their games this fall due to regulations. They need a 100 yard with the capability to have fans inside; the fields they practice on are close to 80 yards.

The city asked Tarrant City Schools if they could play on the high school field, but were denied because they have too many sporting events already happening this fall.

The debate on the issue continues at a City Council meeting Monday as things got heated between city and school leaders, along with the public.

“You should have thought about that before you started football,” Councilwoman Deborah Matthews told Parks and Rec Director Scott Evans.

“Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. D what?” Evans said.

Evens became fed up with situation and almost walked away from the podium.

During Monday’s meetings, kids were out at Tarrant Elementary practicing and many parents were excited to see it.

“With us having the football back, it gives our younger kids an opportunity to have something to do,” Tonya Brown said.

Coach David Warren with the Tarrant City Tide says their youth football program goes beyond the field.

“Give the kids something to do in the community as well as create scholastic athletes,” Warren said.

When parents found out the school had denied the city’s request, they were outraged.

“I don’t understand why the support won’t come from the schools when it’s helping them,” Candielle Brown said.

“It’s just a shame we can’t use it,” Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton said.

School leaders also told the city on Monday high school sports have top priority for field use, and since it’s a grass field and not turf, the upkeep can be a challenge as well.

“And that grass is not going to hold up. It’s just not going to hold up,” a school official said.

But Evans argued other high schools in the area let their youth football programs play on their fields during the season and believes it’s not fair Tarrant High can’t do that.

“The kids in this community should be playing in this community,” Evans said.

Coach Warren says they continue to practice through the debate. Mayor Newton vowed to find these football teams a place to play this season. Evans says if they can’t play in the city, they will have to look into neighboring cities to play.

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