Though the pandemic and all the precautions stemming from it have severely limited life on campus, it has not shut down sports for Spring 2021.
Murray Hartzler, the director of athletics, is passionate about the sports programs at FMU and wants them to be as authentic as possible.
“We want to have students attend and do it safely, and we want to have as many as possible,” Hartzler said. “The number one thing is being adaptable.”
With athletic events, the most important aspects are proper planning and adherence to regulations. The athletic department set up the gym at the Smith University Center (UC) to allow attendance to basketball games, which will carry over into other athletic events and facilities.
“What we are doing with basketball right now is preselling tickets; with baseball, softball, soccer it would be kind of the same thing,” Hartzler said. “We would put it out on social media. If you want to attend the game, you will have to come sign up to get a ticket. There will be a limited number of tickets based on what we are allowed in each facility and based on how many season tickets we sold and how many parents will be there.”
Capacity of stadiums and gyms are a crucial detail here. The athletic department, FMU President Carter and other departments and organizations have to agree on the seating limitations and different policies. Season ticket holders and families of athletes will get first choice of tickets and what’s left over will be available to students. Students will have to go to the athletics office at UC 234.
“For baseball, softball and soccer, we will figure out the number of tickets available next week,” Hartzler said.
Though some of the athletic events will occur at the Griffin Athletic Complex at the same time, there will be no walking between events unless they are severely under capacity. Walking back and forth will be regulated in some way.
Also, the stadiums at the Griffin Athletic Complex will be filled with regulating signs and sanitizing equipment to prepare for the upcoming seasons.
“We are going to have signs about masking and social distancing,” Hartzler said. “We have purchased ‘don’t sit here’ signs that we will put in. Along with hand sanitizers, wipes – basically, it will not look the same, but the same type of criteria will be in place.”
The events will be available through cooperation with regulations, signs and sanitation. If everyone can follow the rules and work together, the athletics dept. may grant more access to the public.
“We need them also to observe the spacing and sit in the right seats and wear the masks and do all the right things,” Hartzler said. “The more that happens, the better it is for everybody. The more smoothly everything runs, maybe—if COVID gets better—we’ll increase attendance. I want them to come, I want them to enjoy it, I want as many to attend as possible, but I want to do it safely.”
Check out the FMU athletics department on social media, the athletic website or your university email for more information on upcoming athletic events.