High School athletics will see new capacity limits as we move towards winter
ELKHART, Ind. ---- High School sports will be played this winter, but new pandemic precautions will be put in place creating smaller crowds. An executive order signed by Governor Eric Holcomb Wednesday is limiting fan attendance for counties in orange and red zones, which includes Elkhart County.
Governor Holcomb, calls high school basketball sacred in the Hoosier state, and it is engrained in its' heritage. In order for the tradition to continue this season, there will be limited attendance at all winter sports events, with additional restrictions as games take place indoors.
"We're still playing, we're still moving forward, but like we've been all fall theirs been an attendance limitation, placed upon the venues which we completely agree with so I think that's the primary thing your gonna see," said Commissioner of the IHSAA Paul Neidig.
The biggest change stems from the current color status of Elkhart County. Currently, the county is in zone orange, which permits a 25% fan capacity. With that being said, cases continue to rise in the area, so athletic directors are taking it a step further to keep everyone safe.
"We're anticipating that we will go to a certain number per participatory athlete, not sure if that's four or two, we will await directive from the county, so that will greatly limit the amount of people who are able to watch," said Elkhart High School co-athletic director Jacquie Rost.
Tickets will most likely be reserved for family and close friends, with masks and social distancing mandatory for spectators, referees, coaches, and players. Although the atmosphere may be a little different, officials say this route is better than the alternative.
"What we do ask is people cooperate with us because you know, the next step will probably be us being told we can't have any spectators at all, and the next after that is we can't have high school sports at all and those are two things we don't want to have happen," said Concord athletic director Dave Preheim.
Additionally, with the holiday season approaching, there is a shared responsibility between all student-athletes.
"Student-athletes be true to your team, be true to your athletes, be true to your teammates, and do the responsible thing even when you are out of school and we'll continue to keep this light on so you can play," said Neidig.
Concord has become one of the first to make adjustments to their fan attendance. They gave our four tickets to each member of the girl's basketball team to pass out, making them one of the first to scale attendance back from the original 25%.