Opinion: Fans should be allowed at CCS sporting events


Joshua Baxter

The home bleachers at Carlmont sit empty as Central Coast Section sports have not yet begun. It is still uncertain whether or not fans will be able to attend games.

Sports. One word, hundreds of questions. Thanks to the outbreak of COVID-19, the world of sports has entered a whirlwind of possibilities as everyone attempts to navigate through uncertain times.

While professional sports and various high schools around the country have gotten underway in recent weeks and months, California high schools postponed their fall seasons as mandated by the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics.

As of right now, the Central Coast Section, the governing body for high school athletics in the Bay Area/Northern California region, has scheduled the first sports games to start in December.

Although there is a plan for carrying out games, there have been no decisions made yet on whether fans will be allowed to attend games.

Unless the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increases, fans should be allowed to return to CCS sporting events, even if it has to be at limited capacity.

Currently, San Mateo county sits in the red tier in terms of COVID-19. This means there are fewer restrictions on places where people gather, such as restaurants, movie theaters, and schools. However, professional sporting events are not allowed to seat any live audience until the orange tier.

It may seem logical to say that if professional sports don’t allow fans, neither should high schools, but this isn’t the case. December is still two months away, so there is plenty of time for the situation to improve, hopefully. Second, high school is very different than the professional level as there are fewer people who attend.

The majority of high schools in the CCS only have a few sets of bleachers to use as seating, which is nowhere comparable to professional sports stadiums, arenas, and other facilities. Thus, it would be much easier to accommodate admission into games, provided that fans sit six feet apart from each other.

Fans are also a significant factor in creating an atmosphere to energize players. At the professional level, players noticed a considerable difference, with the lack of fans even throwing some off their game. In the words of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, it felt like “practice.”

For high schoolers, not having friends and family to show their support potentially damages player morale, and games would seem equivalent to meaningless scrimmages.

It also seems strange that if schools are allowed to return at limited capacity based on the COVID-19 tier index, attendance at sporting events remains prohibited. If schools can work out a plan to allow a limited number of students to work in each classroom, they can also plan to get fans into sports games.

At the very least, the CCS should permit family and close friends of athletes into games with social distancing requirements, significantly reducing the number of fans in attendance while still giving the players a supportive fan base to cheer them on.

Even if the CCS must significantly reduce the number of audience members, fans should be allowed to return to athletic events for the 2020-21 season, so long as the COVID-19 situation does not worsen.