HUMMEL: Parents should be allowed in the stands at high school games

The (Sunbury) Daily Item (TNS)
York High fans celebrates a three-point shot by Arman White during PIAA District 3, Class 5-A basketball consolation game action against Northern at William Penn Senior High School in York City, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. York High would win the game 86-68. Dawn J. Sagert photo

With the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s decision on Friday to begin fall sports, almost immediately, thoughts turned to whether fans would be in the stands.

In every August interview I’ve done involving the PIAA and the return of the fall sports, the conversation steers itself to fan attendance.

With the Department of Health mandate allowing 250 or fewer people in an outdoor setting, it just doesn’t seem as though it will happen. Gov. Tom Wolf has previously said that fans will not be able to attend youth games.

After the meeting on Friday, Dr. Robert Lombardi, the executive director of the PIAA, had some thoughts on fans in the stands.

“I would hope it would have to get to (the legislature), even though I’ve heard some rumblings,” Lombardi said on Friday. “I know our neighbors to the West (Ohio) are having fans. I’m hoping 25 percent (capacity) of a football stadium would solve most of our issues, but that’s to be be determined.”

Lombardi also encouraged parents and school districts to get involved.

“I think if Mom and Dad, and the schools want to contact their local legislator and the governor’s staff, I think that would help greatly,” Lombardi said.

I think we should make every effort to get fans in the stands, and I think the only difficulty would be in football stadiums.

I really think the teams that still play soccer and field hockey on grass fields would have little issue in social distancing outdoors. The teams that play on turf would be in the stadiums, but with just parents, I still don’t see an issue with those sports.

I think schools would like the bands to be at the football games as well. I heard a good idea from a coach. Why not two tickets for each player on Friday night and two tickets for each junior varsity player on the night that they play?

I don’t think this would be problem because I think we’ve all seen places throughout this summer that put people into situations without much social distancing. Places that have policies in place that aren’t being enforced, and nothing has happened.

The police haven’t stopped them from holding the events, and it’s happening all over the state.

Look around on social media, there are a lot of amateur sports happening as well. 

So it’s not hard to see why parents are upset that they can’t go to games. They’ve been able to attend contests all summer, but once school ramps up, they can’t go anymore.

The main thing is for the kids to play, but the parents can’t be forgotten, either.