By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois State University Athletic Director Larry Lyons says it’s highly unlikely fans will not be allowed in the stands at indoor events next year.
Speaking with WJBC’s Scott Miller, Lyons said the University would follow Gov. Pritzker and state-mandated social distancing mitigations.
“Just given the way things are going right now, in terms of where the positivity rates (are), I don’t see the Governor changing any guidelines there. In fact, we have reached out to the Governor’s office and asked if there was any light in the tunnel. Now that was four to six weeks ago, and I think there was some light four to six weeks (ago); I don’t think the tunnel has any light in it right now. We are going to plan on no fans in the stands for basketball and volleyball.”
In Phase 4 of the Governors ‘Restore Illinois’ plan, ISU could have 20% outdoor capacity at sporting events such as football, soccer, baseball and softball.
“Current regulations are that we can have 20% outdoors, and I think we are going to be able to maintain that outdoor (seating). You see that around the country, that if you appropriately distance, number of seats between groups of folks, the number of rows between folks, you can do that safely outdoors. It’s going to make it harder with season tickets and things like that, but there are ways to manage those fan bases and folks who want to come to those games within those guidelines. I think we are going to be out of luck indoors, but I think we have a good shot of having some fans outside.”
Lyons, set to retire at the end of the year, said the fan’s situation remains fluid and could change.
You can hear all of the games from the Redbird Sports Network from Learfiled IMG College on AM 1230 WJBC and WJBC.com.
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.