Fans in the stands

Changes with the COVID winter sports attendance.

A+student+section+at+one+of+the+North+Platte+basketball+games.+The+student+section+came+back+for+basketball+on+January+18%2C+2021.

Elsacia Buck

A student section at one of the North Platte basketball games. The student section came back for basketball on January 18, 2021.

Jonathan Dekleva, Spotlight Editor

As of January 18, 2021, the Student section has returned, according to Jordan Cudney, who is the Athletic Director for NPHS.

Cudney says that attendance is chosen from NSAA (Nebraska State Athletics Association) guidance. “When we started the winter sports season, the NSAA said 25% capacity, family members only.” “Every school’s 25% looked a little different.”

Fans can be one of the main reasons that student athletes compete. “Having fans at sporting events is one of the driving reasons why the sports are fun,” says senior Treven Hipwell, a basketball player.“

When it comes to a wrestling meet invite, the rules are different. “To be fair and equitable, some schools will say that they need to maintain under 50% capacity, every wrestler can have two family members come,” said Cudney.

Cudney says that swim and dive is a challenge. “I know for swim and dive this year, because very few places have an actual place for fans to sit and watch, there have been no spectators allowed,” he said.

“Here at the Rec Center, we have little to no seating,” said Cudney. “The challenge is one, can we have fans or can we not have fans?” he said. “If you say yes to having fans, you start with seniors and work your way down.” 

Senior Meleah Friedrich, a swimmer, says that fans impact her performance. “Even though most of the time, you can’t hear them, it makes a world of difference,” she said “The teammates have had to step up and be the cheerleaders.”

Cudney said that there are no specific NSAA rules about capacity. “They leave it up to every school district to figure out, and how they reach the 50% capacity, ” he said.

However, he said the focus is still on giving student athletes the best experience possible. “We want to do as much as we can to give our kids a great experience,” Cudney said. “ We cautiously but aggressively pursue whatever the NSAA allows us to do.”