Vaqueros fans will have to wait to return to the SBCC Sports Pavilion

Katrina+Regalado+practices+a+three-point+shot+on+Oct.+7+at+City+Colleges+Sports+Pavilion+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+At+least+for+the+first+month+of+the+spring+2022+semester%2C+indoor+games+will+be+held+with+no+spectators+to+prevent+the+spread+of+COVID-19.

August Lawrence

Katrina Regalado practices a three-point shot on Oct. 7 at City College’s Sports Pavilion in Santa Barbara, Calif. At least for the first month of the spring 2022 semester, indoor games will be held with no spectators to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Eric Evelhoch, Sports Editor

Vaquero sports fans hoping to watch games at the Sports Pavilion will have to spend the start of the spring semester like many City College students – by attending remotely.

The City College Athletics Department announced that fans will not be allowed to attend indoor contests as of Monday, Jan. 10, until “further notice.” The move comes amid rising cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County due to the emergence of the Omicron variant. 

Interim Director of Athletics Jerry Hannula described it as “the toughest decision he’s had to make in his short time as athletics director.”

Hannula addressed health and safety concerns for his players.

“The health and safety of our players, staff and opponents is the number one objective right now,” he said. “Once we get that under control, we can move on to the next level.”

Spectators are currently allowed at outdoor sporting events and must follow City College campus requirements.

Associate Athletic Director Ellen O’Connor said the policies are different due to the settings and that for outdoor events, “we encourage fans to wear masks and be physically distanced from persons, not from the same household.”

Hannula met with campus administrators and the City College COVID response coordinators during the decision-making process.

On Jan. 19, the interim-superintendent president wrote an email to all City College employees stating that “we had to face the reality we didn’t have enough staff to cover vital areas” as part of a paragraph discussing the decision to move several classes and services online for the first four weeks of the semester.

Men’s and women’s basketball are currently the only two teams hosting events at the Sports Pavilion. However, both have had games with Western State Conference-North rivals rescheduled this season.

Recently, women’s basketball had its Jan. 5, home game against Ventura College rescheduled to today Jan. 31. However, this past Saturday’s away game Jan. 29, against the Pirates had to be postponed, with makeup dates yet to be announced. 

The men’s volleyball team opens its season against Orange Coast College on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and the policy will also affect it.

Fans can watch a live stream of games at the Sports Pavilion on the City College Athletics website. The stream features a video with a scoreboard overlay and no audio, according to O’Connor.

“I understand [the] frustration,” Hannula said. “I’m not a proponent of empty bleachers at our home events, but I do tend to err on the side of caution.”

The following events are scheduled at the Sports Pavilion on Wednesday, Feb. 2, as men’s and women’s basketball take on Oxnard College at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.