New rules in light of COVID-19 reshape how sports are played this season.

By Luke Eriksen, ’22.

With fall sport seasons getting started, the new guidelines for spectators will change the way games are played.

On Aug. 21, UAHS Principal Andrew Theado sent an email to all parents and students with an extensive list of new rules and guidelines for all fall sports modeled after the guidelines and recommendations provided by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). The guidelines are meant to protect all spectators and specifically the spectators with higher risk. 

All players on the sidelines are encouraged to stay six feet apart and attempt to avoid grouping together. Locker rooms are also prohibited to maintain social distancing standards. Hand sanitizer is frequently enforced by the coaches after the players come off the field.  

The most prominent guideline limits spectators access to only 15% of field capacity in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. All spectators must also wear a mask. 

The atmosphere for games has dramatically changed with these guidelines. Each participant, which includes players, cheerleaders and band members, receives two to three tickets to each home game. 

This decreases the number of students at each game, forcing the football team to adjust to the smaller crowds.

“For the players on the field, it’s definitely less motivational,” junior football player Grant Cameron said.

Without a large number of students, the presence of Bear Den, a spirit club at UAHS that organizes themes and chants for the student section, is greatly reduced.

Senior leader Joey Holland said, “Of course we would want to have a huge student section at all the big games, but on the other hand, we are extremely thankful to have a season and hope to get student sections to our winter and spring games.”

It’s been almost an entire year without sports at UAHS. The most recent season was the winter sports season, and even that season was canceled before all games were played.