The COVID-19 pandemic put athletic departments, teams, athletes and fans in unique situations as sports resumed. Hofstra University baseball fans found a way to attend games, skirting university rules intended to prohibit spectators.
According to The Hofstra Chronicle, fans responded to being banned from University Field by setting up lawn chairs on the grass outside the stadium before the season ended May 16. Therefore, while not violating the athletic department’s no spectators policy, the fans were in violation of Hofstra’s COVID-19 restrictions about guests on campus.
In order to step on the Long Island, New York campus during the 2020-21 school year, guests were supposed to register in the Office of Public Safety, fill out a health screening and wear a mask.
The University’s policy states, “As a result of all protocols and regulations in place to provide a safe environment for our student-athletes, coaches and essential staff, there will be no fan attendance at any Hofstra sporting events on campus. The University will continue to monitor all protocols as it relates to COVID-19 and will communicate any changes to this plan to the Hofstra community.”
“When I’m on campus, I trust public safety to keep me safe and make sure all threats, violent or health-wise, are kept off campus,” Hofstra junior Jordan Zalewski said of how the regulations don’t appear to be enforced. “I just don't like how they willingly let these baseball fans onto campus, even though the rules clearly state they are not allowed to be here. This is my home.”
The issue of fans finding alternative ways to watch games wasn’t an issue in the winter, when all sports are played indoors. The space opened up more in the spring as the weather warmed up and games moved outside.
“I always sat over here during games, so the ban on spectators in the stands had no effect on me personally,” Tim Kennedy, the father of Hofstra outfielder Will Kennedy, said while noting he was unaware of the university’s restrictions for guests on campus.