Fans back in the stands

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The sports season is up and running at Waynesburg University and the addition of family and students spectators returning to attendance brings a renewed sense of normalcy for the first time since the pandemic’s arrival.

The Presidents Athletic Conference Council voted to leave the external policies for the fall and spring outdoor sports for the remainder of the spring 2021 semester up to the individual schools in the PAC.

Every PAC school agreed to deny visiting fans on each other’s campuses for any contests this semester. Due to varying campus policies, allowing home fans is completely up to each school.

While Waynesburg limited attendance during basketball season, fans are now allowed in the stands at baseball, softball, tennis, track and field football, lacrosse and volleyball events. To properly adhere to the Keep Waynesburg Well plan, Waynesburg had to find a system to return family and friends to the bleachers.

Student Senate president and president of Students Athletic Advisory Committee Luke Diel commented on his connection with both organizations and how it has benefited the promotion of the return of fans to sporting events.

“This was a unique opportunity for me to help not just students but also athletes on campus,” Diel said. “We want a good athletic environment for student-athletes considering the high number of athletes on campus and working with both senate and SAAC with both similar tasks made spreading the word for both organizations much more beneficial.”

John F. Wiley Stadium has a maximum capacity of 500 attendees, and there is a process all family members and guests of the athletes have to do before entering the stadium.

Senior senator and chair of the polling committee, Ryan Williams, explained the process of what guests must do before they can enter the stadium.

“Students just show their ID to get in, but for the guest of the players or coaches, they come to the table we have set up at the gate, and we ask who they are here for and ask for some ID just so they aren’t showing up for other athletes in the future,” Williams said. “Once they sign in, they are only allowed four guests all year per athlete, and in the future, guests show their passes so they can get into future games.”

The process has gone very smoothly, and none of the workers have run into any troubles about reaching capacity or guests trying to show up for another athlete or forgetting their tickets.

“This was new for all of us, but [there have been] no major issues; however, we have had to turn away some of the opponent’s teams fans since we aren’t allowed to have any away team guests,” Diel said. “The good news is most parents have their tickets now so the process can run faster and more efficiently.”