Rules for fans as they return to live sports

Courtesy of | After a year without them, fans will be welcomed back to Tomlinson Stadium. All fans in attendance will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status against COVID-19.

Jared Galanti, Sports Editor

After a full school year of no fans allowed at sport games, CWU is welcoming fans back for the 2021-2022 school year. However, in order to enjoy live sports again fans will have to follow one major rule.

All fans will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status, while either inside the Nicholson Pavilion to watch volleyball games or outside to watch either football games or soccer games at Tomlinson Stadium. Athletes will not be required to wear masks while they are participating in the sport they play. 

The Wildcats first home football game of the year is this Saturday, Sept. 25, against the Angelo State Rams. 

This is in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Sept. 9 state wide requirement of masks for outdoor events that exceed 500 people. 

Athletic Director Dennis Francois said while the 500 people threshold isn’t always hit with all the sports, they are putting these rules in place to help protect not only the fans, but everyone who is present at the stadium.

“They will have to have a mask when they enter the gate,” Francois said. “We just decided to do it regardless of how many people are in attendance just to keep everybody as safe as possible.”

Francois said he met with the other presidents and directors of athletics throughout the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) and confirmed other universities such as Western Washington University are also following these same rules for their fans. 

Rules for fans during the winter sports season could be discussed for GNAC schools within the next two to three weeks and an announcement of those rules could be within the next five weeks. Spring sports should be discussed in January with an announcement of rules shortly following. Francois said if COVID-19 case numbers remain at the current level, the rules in place could remain there through the start of winter sports. 

Francois said he is excited for fans to be returning to the stadiums for the first time in over a year due to the energy that is brought by them to the games. 

“We’re just really looking forward to having fans back in the stands,” Francois said. “We have had a few volleyball games and it’s great to feel that energy in the (Nicholson) Pavilion and then of course we’ve had a home soccer match too. Again it was just great to feel that energy and just have those fans cheer on our student-athletes. Which is something that has been void for over a year, so it’s exciting to see our fans and community back out supporting the Wildcats.”