Gulf Coast to begin 2021 seasons with no fans in attendance.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -Gulf Coast College will start its basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball seasons without fans in the stands come January and February. The school putting out a release Wednesday morning stating it will begin the 2021 athletic seasons with a “no fans in attendance” policy to protect the health and safety of all. That release going on to state “this will impact all five teams and all sports venues.” That means the sports mentioned above.
The statement reads “Our ultimate goal is to play as many games as possible while ensuring that our athletes, coaches, support staff, and fans are in the safest environment possible. We will continue to follow the recommended guidelines of the CDC and local health officials. As we proceed through the seasons, we will make adjustments to this policy if we can do so safely.”
The school saying it knows this may be an inconvenience to a loyal fan base, but is doing this out of an abundance of caution to have as few disruptions to the seasons as possible.
“Our ultimate goal is to play as many games as possible, with as few interruptions as possible.” Gulf Coast Athletic Director Mike Kandler told us Wednesday afternoon. “But at the same time keeping our players, thank you coaches, support staff and the fans as safe as possible. So so we just felt like with the lay of the land, with the way things are with Covid right now there seems to be the safest thing. And then as the season progresses you know maybe some things will happen and will be able to change that. But as far as starting out, we’re going to go with no fans.”
We asked the coach if the impending arrival of COVID vaccines may change this policy in the near future?
“Yeah and I’m certainly not qualified to be understanding if the vaccines, the timing and all that.” coach Kandler told us. “So what we’ll do is defer to the CDC and all local health officials to try to help us with these decisions. And if people think the vaccine is effective, enough people have had it, or the spread has slowed, or whatever you want to say, then we can always revisit this. And we will, we will continue to monitor as the semester goes on in the spring.”
The basketball and volleyball teams begin play in mid to late January. The softball and baseball teams begin their seasons in February.
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