Should College Sports Allow Spectators Attend Games?

Chris Hartigan, Sports Editor, Senior

Leading up to the start of the 2020-2021 academic school year, many colleges and universities were struggling to come up with ideas on how to keep their students safe. Some schools decided to send their students back with COVID-19 precautions and lots of testing, while other schools thought it was too much of a risk and made the decision to go fully virtual. Most of the schools that did go back are being very careful about restricting large gatherings amongst students. However, at some big state schools there are little to no restrictions with students living life like pre COVID-19. One main activity that students at these schools are allowed is the ability to attend football games with semi-large crowds and limited social distancing.

The FBS NCAA football season has been underway since September 26th with some conferences beginning on later dates. Ten total conferences are playing and three additional schools are playing as independents. seven out of the ten conferences are having fans allowed in the stands, but some schools in those conferences aren’t allowing them. The schools that are allowing fans are only allowing under 30% of total capacity. For the larger state schools, that could still be as many as 25,000 fans. These schools may be trying their best to socially distance the fans, but it is hard to keep thousands of college students separated and wearing masks at all times. 

It is not fair that students at these schools get to live aspects of normal life while attending these football games, while students at other colleges cannot. COVID-19 could easily spread throughout the students at these games. For example, a state which is experiencing case surges is Florida. According to the New York Times, cases have been steadily rising since the beginning of October. The total number of cases at the middle and end of November were higher than they were during the first outbreak in the beginning of the year. The state of Florida has 7 colleges that are currently competing in the 2020 season and all 7 of those schools are allowing a certain number of fans to attend the games. Another state that is similar to this is Texas, who also has seen a surge in total cases. A total of 12 schools are playing football this season and all of them are allowing fans. 

The United States will not be able to recover from this pandemic if people keep attending these games and other such gatherings. The college football season has been underway for months and it is being properly handled. Athletes are being tested frequently and, if an outbreak occurs on a team, all of their games are pushed back and those exposed to the virus are forced to quarantine. The games aren’t what is holding this country back, it is the fans that are packed together to cheer on their school. If fans were to be not allowed to attend games we would see a dip in COVID-19 cases, and we would be able to live life normally a lot faster.