Chipola to allow fans at basketball, baseball and softball games

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 11:49 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Chipola College will play in front of some fans once the basketball, baseball and softball begins later this month.. Indians Athletic Director Jeff Johnson telling us that Wednesday afternoon to let us know the reasons for that and the details of that decision.

“In the gymnasium part of it we’re going to only allow Chipola Appreciation Club members for the beginning part of the season.” coach Johnson told me via Zoom. “With those numbers it gets as close to the percentages that we feel like we need to be at Scott. So we’re going to do that with our basketball part. And the baseball and softball part, we’re going to not limit that at all, since it’s outside. We are just going to adhere to all the CDC and social distancing measures. Encourage fans to bring lawn chairs and that type stuff. And sit around the fence area you know will social distance our grandstand.”

Here’s more on the breakdown in terms of putting fans, as safely as they believe possible, in the Johnson Health Center for those home basketball games.

“We got a new seating chart Scott that we did.” Johnson said. “And we’re going to go through that seating chart and have little pods. It looks like we’ll have four people pods. Each one of our appreciation club members gets four seats. And you know we know the people who come and don’t come for the most part sometimes. Will have our pods, you know, will social distance those pods. And then at that point just do a good job, the people need to do a good job of understanding as well, and adhering to the social distancing and CDC guidelines as well.”

As for reasoning behind this decision, well pulling in badly needed dollars a part of the equation, but not the driving force in the decision, at least from coach Johnson’s point of view.

“I just felt like not having fans was not a good thing.” coach Johnson explained. “And I think we need to have fans of some sort, and I think we can do that and adhere to percentages and social distancing and all that type stuff. To give the people who want to watch the games. And also for the kids to have someone to play in front of too. That was my idea from the start, to have a certain percentage. And when we looked at the numbers from our Appreciation Club, I think it keeps us to where we will be able to social distance and maintain things health-wise.”

The men’s basketball team at Chipola opens at home on January 20th against Manatee. The Lady Indians open the next day at home against Georgia Highlands. The baseball and softball teams begin their seasons on the road the weekend of the 22nd.

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