Allegheny allows fans to return to stands at athletic events

Allegheny recently announced that students, faculty and staff can attend sporting events for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Although fans will be back in the stands, they can only congregate in a limited capacity, if at all. Each sport varies how many spectators are allowed and where the spectators can watch the game.

According to an article on the Allegheny Gators website, outdoor sports including baseball, lacrosse and softball can have up to 100 spectators. However, each sport has specific seating for their fans.

During baseball games, fans can only watch the game from the hills, not from the usually designated seats, as they are too close to the field of play. For softball, fans are even farther away from the field as they can only watch behind the outfield fence. As for men’s lacrosse games on Fuhrer Field, spectators can only sit in the home stands, whereas on the blue turf field, women’s lacrosse fans can only sit in the bleachers or by the endline fence.

Other sports range between a maximum of 45-to-60 fans. Both men’s and women’s basketball will allow up to 60 fans to watch from designated seating on one side of the arena. During swimming and diving meets, up to 50 fans can only view the Gators from the marked sections of the balcony.

As for tennis, as many as 45 fans can watch matches, but are asked to bring their own chair or blanket and cannot sit by the team bench area. Tennis (when indoors), golf (when at The Country Club of Meadville), and track and field will not be allowing any fans this season.

Riya Agrawal, ’23, was saddened to see that teams will have different numbers of spectators this season, but understands that each team has a different set of protocols due to their playing location and the nature of the sport.

“I want to say that it’s not fair that baseball gets to have more spectators than golf because every sport deserves to have spectators if people want to watch them,” Agrawal said. “Maybe fans are unable to attend golf meets in order to protect the Meadville community more so than the Allegheny community.”

Agrawal would also like to see the families of Allegheny students attend sporting events. Although families are unlikely to attend games this semester, Agrawal wishes families could watch the Gators play in-person.

“I think it’s sad that families cannot support their children (at games),” Agrawal said. “They are a big part of why our athletes are on campus today. That being said, I understand that the whole issue is bringing families on campus and potentially exposing them or the Allegheny community to COVID-19.”

Despite some teams not being able to have fans and no family members can attend games, Benj Gallegos, ’23, is grateful that Allegheny even has competitions this season.

“I am hoping that we can have more fans as the semester continues, but I think for the most part — as long as we are able to have competitions — that’s our main focus right now,” Gallegos said.

There is a possibility that the college will allow for more fans later in the semester. Allegheny announced on April 5 that they have partnered with Meadville Medical Center to administer COVID-19 vaccines to students starting on April 19.

Agrawal is hoping that if enough students receive the vaccine, she can support more teams that play off campus in the fall, such as the club hockey team.

“I was really excited to attend games on campus freshman year,” Agrawal said. “I know that it was a great way to meet people as well as to support our teams. I only went to two hockey games last year, and those games were a great way to see that we have team spirit.”

Despite sporting events not being at full capacity, Allegheny was unsure if they would have any fans at all this season. For that reason, Heather Amancio, ’23, is excited that spectators can watch games this semester.

“I was really happy about it because obviously we have been missing the fans for so long and fall sports did not get to have fans at all,” Amancio said. “I am happy that spring sports will not only have games, but our student population will come and support them.”

Amancio has already started to attend games and plans to do so for the rest of the semester.

“I watch every women’s lacrosse game,” Amancio said. “I also work (with the Athletic Communications department for) lacrosse games sometimes. I tried to make it to a basketball game recently, but I didn’t have enough time. However, I am definitely supporting them in spirit for sure.”

For more information about attending sporting events at Allegheny this semester, visit the Allegheny Gators website for details about upcoming competitions.