No spectators, no problem

Livestreaming is just not enough, so students and parents get creative.

Gigi Fierro, Freelancer

After a year marked by a pandemic, Biolans are not surprised by restrictions new or old. Since campus reopened for student-athletes in September, and gradually to Phase 2 and 3 students, spectators need permission to be present at outdoor or indoor events. Livestreaming was a quick fix for friends, family and even fans when the NCAA permitted varsity competition on campuses again. However, viewers can only take staring at a screen for so long. 

Biola student athletes are being tested for COVID-19 weekly in order to be permitted for collegiate competition and practice. This is the head scratcher for the athletic community at Biola. Students are allowed to study outside in groups socially distanced with masks on, but people can not attend outside sporting events on campus.

 WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?

“Everyone who’s on campus and getting tested weekly, especially other student-athletes, should be allowed to come watch games,” said sophomore tennis player Brooke Fager.

“It makes no sense. I can go watch the guys’ tennis match and be inside the complex. But none of my other friends that are student athletes can. For outdoor sports like soccer, track, tennis, golf, swim, and baseball you should be able to go, stand and watch their games with no problem, just wear a mask.”

A majority of the student body can understand that Biola Athletics is trying to maintain a clean campus. But, many still do not agree. 

“I do understand bringing outsiders into campus can be a risk for COVID-19,” said sophomore outfielder Caitlin Fowble. “I just feel like with people on campus it’s not so necessary only because all of us are getting tested every week and we all see each other anyway. So I do wish that at least our friends on campus could come watch, yes.”

GETTING CREATIVE

The policy stated by L.A. County and state guidelines requires that spectators of any kind cannot be present at the event but Biola parents have found some creative loopholes that do not break this policy.  

“My mom was able to be on the fifth floor of the parking structure just for like half of the meet and she was so excited,” said freshman swimmer Ashlynn Griffin. “Parents are just trying to do everything that they can. They’re still wearing their masks and staying away from each other so it’s nice to be able to look up and know they are out there.”

Biola is located next to multiple neighborhoods, giving parents the ability to watch their daughter’s first game of the season in style.

“It’s a very different feeling because we’re used to having our parents and friends in the stands watching and cheering us on,” Fowble said. “We’re fortunate enough that all of our games are live streamed so our loved ones can watch. Our parents got a little creative, we have a little neighborhood that’s right next to the field and some of the parents pulled up there and we’re watching the game from there. It’s fun, a new normal but we’re making the best of what we’ve got.”

WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT

For many Biolans who live out of state, livestreaming was a technological miracle. But when given the chance, many parents will buy plane tickets just to see their son or daughter do what they love. 

“You want to see your child do well and succeed, obviously it’s something parents are going to want to come watch,” said senior swimmer Andrew Holmes. “They’re paying a lot of money for Biola’s tuition and when they’ve invested all the years of their childhood pouring into clubs or pouring into other stuff it’s important to the parents just as it is to the kid. I think it’s a big deal because you want to show your children love and support. The best way to do that in athletics is to be there to support in person.” 

WHAT CAN WE DO?

In a press conference on Wednesday, March 11, Vice President of Student Development Andre Stephens released a statement regarding Biola’s current power over the no spectator rule. 

“Some of the protocols aren’t ours, they’re the county or the state’s,” Stephens said. “When it comes to spectators, that is specifically a county and state protocol. That is changing in the coming weeks as the county moves into the red tier, but that specific guidance isn’t Biola’s so we aren’t allowed to have spectators present.”

For now students, faculty and family will have to continue their safe and creative ways of viewing these sporting events. 

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