Kent State winter sports will have no fan attendance


The Kent State women’s basketball team celebrates their win against Ohio University to clinch the MAC East Conference regular season championship. Mar. 4, 2020. 

Owen MacMillan

There will be no fan or family attendance at Kent State sporting events for the winter season during the 2020-21 season.

Only participating athletes and coaches, gameday university personnel and members of the media will be allowed to attend.

This applies to men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics as well as the remainder of the football season. 

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and community remains at the forefront of this decision,” said athletic director Joel Nielsen. “We look forward to the day when everyone can cheer on our teams together again.”

However, the university left the door open for holding a senior night against Ohio University on Dec. 12 for the football team if COVID-19 conditions and state and local guidelines permit it. That would mean seniors on the team would be permitted to have family members in attendance.

The Athletic Department said in a release that the decision was made after consulting local COVID-19 conditions as well as health experts and President Todd Diacon.

One key difference between winter sports and the remaining home football game, the Dec. 12 game against Ohio University, is that only football will have the Kent State band and dance and cheer teams in attendance.

That means the attendance of winter sports will be even more limited than football games have been, likely due to the fact they will take place indoors.

“While our enthusiastic fan base helps provide a real home-court advantage, I support our administration’s attendance policy for the upcoming season,” Todd Starkey, women’s basketball coach, said in the release. “Protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes is essential, and we are committed to doing our part in helping minimize the spread of this virus throughout the community.”

The athletic department also made clear that the decision was made in response to Portage County remaining at Risk Level 3 “Red” status in Ohio’s state COVID-19 tracking system. Level 3 indicates a high risk of spread and exposure.

Owen is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate