SOURCE: Leonardtown Wildcats Football and Cheer/via Facebook

LEONARDTOWN, Md. — Late on Wednesday night, the Leonardtown Wildcats Organization, who host roughly 300 players every season, announced on Facebook that they would be canceling their football and cheer seasons for the summer and fall, and will be issuing refunds immediately.

Leonardtown Wildcats’ President Ron Spalding told that there was no singular moment that led to the decision, but rather it boils down to the guidelines they were given to work with and out of caution for the young athletes, even at some detriment to the organization.

“Our first concern is about our athletes and our families that participate within the Wildcats,” Spalding said in a phone interview. “Despite our income, despite our prosperity throughout the organization as a business… our number one goal is to take care of the athletes and the families.”

The nonprofit football league in the past would field football players from ages 6-14, and cheerleaders from ages 5-15. The Leonardtown Wildcats website lists that a football registration fee starts at $200 and a cheerleading fee starts at $180. However, with the impending lack of registration fees and those being fully-refunded, the business and organization are preparing to feel some strain from their prior investments.

Another aspect that the cancelation will contribute to is the inability of young players to continue improving on the field. With other local youth programs being canceled, and the high school fall sports season also currently up in the air, players of all levels are being locked out of another option to enhance their skills, at no fault of their own.

“I feel like it was a very difficult decision,” Spalding said. “We recognize that we impact youth on a variety of levels, whether it be disadvantaged youth or to advantaged youth, and frankly we hope we can still inspire kids of all different ages and of all different backgrounds to seek avenues to improve their athleticism.”

Spalding did note the possibility of looking into hosting some skills camps in place of the season. However, he still recognizes that might include some risks that their organization might not be willing to take unless safety was guaranteed.

For now, the Leonardtown Wildcats are hoping for better days next year, when everyone can get back together for a workout on the field or a night under the lights.

“Hopefully, they’ll come back and see us next year,” Spalding said. “You know, we understand that [COVID-19] had huge impacts across the entire state. We understand that it’s impacted everyone’s lives… We have to do what we can to protect everyone.”

Read their full statement below:

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