By Jenna Costello ’22, Staff Writer
With competition in sports beginning again soon, St. John Fisher College announced there will be no spectators allowed at athletic events this spring in accordance with New York State policy.
In the New York State Department of Health’s Guidance for Athletics at Higher Education Institutions During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, it states:
“Intercollegiate sports that are sanctioned by athletic associations or governing bodies (e.g., National Collegiate Athletic Association) may practice and play, as determined by the sport’s respective association, conference, and higher education institution. However, higher education institutions must notify and coordinate with their respective local health department on the resumption of intercollegiate sports, including but not limited to, the sharing of any applicable health and safety plans, protocols, or procedures. Additionally, no spectators, fans, or audience are authorized to attend an intercollegiate sport competition or training program until further notice. Higher education institutions, in consultation with local health or safety authorities, must have sufficient security personnel to ensure only participants and personnel essential to the intercollegiate play (e.g., athletes, coaches, trainers, regulators, timekeepers, judges, referees, media, medical personnel, venue staff) are permitted access to the facilities/grounds and implement a security plan to disperse any individuals that gather outside the premises.”
Although this could be disappointing news for some, the Fisher Athletic Department stated that they will be enforcing the rule. Since this is a New York State policy, all colleges in the state will be following this protocol, including the Empire 8 Division.
“I wish my parents were able to come see me play for the last time,” senior football player Jeremy Lockwood said. “They have supported me as long as I can remember, starting in Little League and then all the way through college. They deserve to watch us one last time.”
Lockwood, who will be playing in his final season, and other athletes are disappointed with the decision.
Given the circumstances, the Fisher Athletic Department is working to stream athletic events for students and family for free. Athletic Director Bob Ward said, “Right now we’re committed to live streaming every contest we [Fisher] have.” Ward said the College has even updated the quality of their cameras to create a better viewing experience.
Once competition begins, those interested in viewing the live stream can access it via the St. John Fisher Athletics app or on the St. John Fisher athletic website found here: https://athletics.sjfc.edu. Simply hover your cursor over “Sports” to locate the event you’re interested in viewing and click “Schedule” to start the live experience.
The no-spectator policy will be reviewed by the state for the upcoming athletic seasons, but for now Fisher athletics will have to do without their cheering squad.