Moffat County to play basketball in front of no fans this season |

Moffat County to play basketball in front of no fans this season

Due to COVID-19 regulations and the size of the gym, the teams will play in front of empty gyms at home this season

A loose basketball sits by itself at Moffat County High School's gymnasium. (Max O’Neill / Craig Press)

Basketball for Moffat County High School will look a little different this year, as there will be no fans supporting the student athletes in person. Most of the schools that Moffat County will play this year will be letting fans in with accordance for the color their district sits at on the COVID dial. The decision was announced by the Colorado Department of Public Health.

MCHS will not be having fans because of the size of the gym according to boys basketball head coach Steve Maneotis.

“If you look at the guidelines of the state, level orange says we can be indoor events, 25% capacity, 50 person capacity max, 6-foot distancing between parties,” Maneotis said. “So, by the time you add up the teams, the coaches, the support staff, referees, support staff, cheerleaders and so forth, it doesn’t leave any room for fans as interpreted by the guidelines at this point.”

Hayden High School, which is also operating in level orange, is one of the Western Slope schools that will be allowing fans into the games. They are giving out two wristbands per athlete to allow fans into the games.

“We don’t have to count the players or coaches or essential workers in that, per Routt County Public Health,” Danielle Campbell, the Athletic Director for the Routt County School District, said.

The lack of fans at home will be an adjustment for the team, but that shouldn’t affect their dedication in the eyes of Maneotis. He does admit though that it takes away part of the excitement of high school basketball.

“The support of your student body and families in the gym creates what has always been the rich tradition of high school basketball is the environment that it creates. So now we have to learn how to go out and play the game and don’t come out flat,” Maneotis said. “I think you don’t have as much those high and low emotional roller coasters that you may have with fans in the stands.”

The fact that some road games will have fans is exciting for the boy’s basketball team and Maneotis. It allows the players to put on for their school and show off in front of a crowd.

“It’s going to be different for the kids, you know playing as an athlete, it was always nice to see the stands filled. Well, because you wanted to put on a show right?” Maneotis said. “I think these kids want to go out and compete well, perform well, for their student body, their family members and everybody that would normally come to a game.”

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