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Western football player launches national student-athlete association

Western football player Garrett Holmes is launching the Canadian Student-Athlete Association, a group that will advocate on behalf student-athletes in decisions that impact their future.

Garrett Holmes wants to give students a voice in decisions that impact their future

A sign tells people to keep off the grass at Western University during the coronavirus pandemic. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Western Mustangs football player Garrett Holmes is hoping to give a voice to student-athletes when it comes to decisions governing bodies make that affect their futures.

Holmes decided to launch the Canadian Student-Athlete Association on June 8, after USports, the national governing body for university sport in Canada, announced that six fall championships would be cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"COVID-19 has changed university/college sports in Canada forever. Suddenly. That is the new reality. In this new reality, we've already seen a first wave of decisions made that are dramatically impacting student-athletes' lives, careers and futures," said Holmes in a statement.

Garrett Holmes has been a quarterback for the Western Mustangs for the last three years. (Western Mustangs)

"Unfortunately, as we have also seen, those decisions have been made with little or no input from student-athletes, and whether one agrees with the decisions that have already been made or not, more important decisions are going to need to be made in the future. Student-athletes need a voice at the table in those decisions."

The 21-year-old is now calling on student-athletes to join the association that will serve as a national, independent voice for all Canadian university and college athletes.

Among the issues Holmes hopes to impact is the USports decision to not provide an exemption for more than 300 football players who turn 25 prior to the 2021 season, who will miss the 2020 season because of the pandemic.

Future campaigns will look at the impact of cancelling fall sports, the impact of COVID-19 on winter and spring sports, as well as the future funding of athletics.

So far, Holmes has reached out to several other university sport governance bodies, along with the ministers responsible for sport in provinces and territories across Canada.

The Canadian Student-Athlete Association was launched Monday.

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