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UC Clermont basketball team planning to skip season due to vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 10:04 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2021 at 8:26 AM EDT
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CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Members of UC Clermont men’s basketball team are not planning on playing this season because they stated they are collectively against the university’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Players on the team said they were looking forward to a successful season, but as of now, they will be sitting this one out.

“We don’t get full scholarships to come here, and it can be expensive, so to make us make this type of decision is kind of extreme and tough for a lot of us,” Kort Justice, a student and player, said.

The University of Cincinnati now has a vaccine mandate in place. It states that all UC students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 12 or they risk being dropped from in-person classes for the spring semester.

With the men’s basketball season set to start on Nov. 6, UC Clermont players said they have decided together as a team they will not be getting the shot.

“It’s not as far as we don’t get it, and we’re just being difficult, we don’t know what’s safe,” Morris Duffy, a student and player, said. “We don’t know what we’re putting in our body, if it’s safe, how our body will react.”

Some players said they may pursue exemptions for religious reasons, but they are mostly seeking alternative options.

The teammates said despite their decision, they do take COVID seriously and are prepared to follow other protocols, like wearing a mask.

“I would rather get tested than take the vaccine,” Gregory Marsh, a player and student, said.

The players said they feel they are being forced to get vaccinated or give up playing basketball.

“We just wanna hoop. That’s about it. We just wanna hoop,” Ish Ismail, a student and player, said. “We just wanna hoop. We were going for that ring this season. That’s all that mattered.”

While the UC Clermont team is against the vaccine mandate, many others have expressed that they do support the requirements and have been, or are planning to, get vaccinated.

A University of Cincinnati spokesperson has not responded to a request for comment on the team’s decision.

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