College Contemplates Changes to Current Athletic Spectator Policy

The Albion College women's lacrosse team won their second game on Feb. 27 against Alma College. As schools across the MIAA adjust their athletic spectator policies to allow for more people in the stands, Albion College is doing the same (Photo courtesy of Kate Winter).

As some schools started to open restrictions and allow four spectators per player, officials at Albion are thinking of allowing the same. 

As the rule currently stands, athletes are allowed to have two spectators per athletic event each, both of whom have to be immediate family members. Under potential new jurisdiction, not all of these spectators would have to be close family members; they can also be friends on campus. 

Considering that attending games and supporting friends in-person has always been a huge part of playing sports for athletes and spectators alike, students are particularly excited about the extended spectator rule.

Track meets without spectators has been really silent compared to previous seasons,” said Tyler White, a senior from Grosse Point, who runs track. ”It just feels really low key and more like another practice rather than a race.” 

While restrictions are still in place, indoor and outdoor sports do have different regulations.. Volleyball players, for example, are currently allowed three spectators per athlete with no student section. 

When there is a student section, the energy is contagious in the gym and it feels like the crowd is there with you,” said Kate Winter, a senior right side hitter from White Lake. 

For athletes, sports without the student section are missing more than just a cheering crowd. 

“Going out to support your friend in their sport can help strengthen the already existing bond of friendship,” said White. “It also helps you to have your friends cheer you on, and helps them by giving them something fun to do.”

Grace VanDorn, a senior on the volleyball team, agreed with White. 

“Going to sporting events is a social activity, the whole basketball or football team will come together and support us at our games,” said VanDorn. “We do the same for them, each team supports one another.”  

Athletes noted that although their teammates always support one another, there is a marked difference between athlete support and spectator support. 

“We have a great sideline team, the girls are always loud and cheering us on,” said Winter. “But it is a different environment because we have a support system outside of our team that is not there to cheer us on.”

Athletes have also noted that having just family there to support them is not as exciting for athletes, especially when families can’t attend games. 

“We have a girl from Florida and I am from Illinois, I am sure her parents can’t fly down for every game. The same way my family can’t come to every game, then we just have no one there to cheer us on,” said VanDorn.

Athletes have also claimed that it can help enhance their performance by having their friends there cheering them on.

I feel that when my friends and family are watching I get that extra boost and drive to push myself,” said White. 

White is not alone in feeling this way. Winter said she feels the same way, as well as VanDorn. 

“There was a big gap in who was cheering us on at our game, it was because there was no student section,” said Winter. “Away games are even more difficult, because no spectators are allowed, so when we score, the room is silent.” 

“The games feel like practice, no one cheers you on for scoring and it does not give the same feeling,” said VanDorn. 

About Marrissa Price 3 Articles
My name is Marrissa Price and I am first year student. I am an undecided major from Freeland, MI and I enjoy running and watching the Bachelor.

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