No spectators allowed at high school sporting events in South Bend

The situation is still fluid
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Monday night at the South Bend Schools Board meeting, it was announced, at this moment,in time, there will be no spectators at South Bend sporting events this fall.

“The plan right now is no spectators but there’s a lot of stuff that can change from now and our first game in August,” Riley interim head football coach Justin Kinzie said.

Nothing is set in stone right now, but no fans isn’t the worst thing in the world for Kinzie.

“Obviously playing with no spectators stinks,” Kinzie said. “If that’s what we have to do to ensure a season, we’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure these guys get a season off.”

Other schools around the area are also planning on an untypical fall sports season but have not pulled the plug on spectators yet.

“We’ll plan for the worst case scenario but we don’t want to dwell on it,” Penn High School athletic director Jeff Hart said. “We’ll be prepared for whatever happens and we will address things as they come along.”

One big problem for high schools playing sporting events with no fans is the financial impact especially since athletic departments are self funded.

“The expenses just on a game night for police officers, officials, contest workers and so forth that’s over $1,000 just to run a football game,” Concord High School athletic director Dave Preheim said. “If we don’t have fans in the stands, where does that money come from?”

The financial aspect is a big factor but so is the emotional aspect of having fans in the stands.

“The fans make everything,” Warsaw High School athletic director Matt Binkerd said. “To play not in front of fans, it’s amazing, like wow, you don’t realize the fans and the environment, how important that is.”

But the most important thing for all of these schools, is that their kids get to play their favorite sports this fall.

“I’m willing to do whatever I need to do as a coach,” Kinzie said. “We are willing to do whatever we need to do as a corporation to make sure that those young men get the opportunity to play the sport that they love.”

If it comes down to not having spectators at sporting events this fall, several Michiana high schools have plans to make sure their fans can still watch their games online via internet streaming.

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