PIAA works through 'challenges,' but will allow more fans at wrestling state championships

Erie Times-News (TNS)
Bob Lombardi

The PIAA is still working through how many fans will be able to attend the PIAA individual wrestling championships and basketball championships at the Giant Center later this month after Gov. Tom Wolf expanded the occupancy limits on Monday.

The expansion to 15% occupancy of indoor facilities was a main topic of the PIAA Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday. Several PIAA staff members did a walk-through at the Giant Center on Monday morning to figure out how to accommodate everyone with a limit of 500 people, including coaches, athletes, administrators and game workers.

Later that day came the announcement pertaining to the expansion to 15%, which will allow about 1,600 people at the Giant Center. With just 48 hours to work on logistics, the PIAA doesn't have a solid number yet when it comes to how many fans can attend with the new guidelines, but it could be between 1,200 and 1,400.

“We learned we have a lot of challenges,” PIAA Executive Director Bob Lombardi said about the Giant Center walk-through. “There were things put in place as part of the AHL that really changed the dynamic of things. There is a lot of logistics work and traffic flow work to be done.

“The change of occupancy was welcome by all of us, but it also creates more challenges to work out.”

Lombardi said, with the occupancy expansion, all wrestlers will now get six tickets for the state championship meet instead of two. There will be no public sale of tickets for the meet.

►The PIAA could use neutral sites for the basketball playoffs if gyms aren't big enough to get parents into games. The current setup is home sites for teams, but there would be a consideration for a nearby gym that could hold more fans.

►There will still be no fans allowed at the PIAA Swimming Championships at Cumberland Valley the weekend of March 19-20.