Boise State University president Marlene Tromp, in conjunction with the CEOs of the two major healthcare systems in the Treasure Valley, released a letter around 4 p.m. Friday announcing that students and their guests would require either a proof of at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccination or show a negative test for the virus to attend the Broncos' game against Oklahoma State, but students managed to meet the last-minute demands en masse.
As reported by the Idaho Press, by the time the game kicked off at 7 p.m. Saturday, the student section was mostly full, contributing to an announced crowd of 36,702, the fifth-largest crowd in Albertson Stadium history.
The protocol changes came one day after the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare activated crisis standard of care statewide. The same is likely to be required for all fans who attend the Broncos’ next home game — Oct. 2 against Nevada.
After complaints of spotty mask-wearing after Boise State's first home game of the season on Sept. 10, the university offered prizes to those who got vaccinated, and those who showed proof of vaccination would get entered into a raffle for prizes such as season tickets, autographed items and more. During a timeout in in the second quarter, a student was awarded 25 percent off her tuition in an on-field presentation. In the fourth quarter, a fan won a one-year lease of a Ford F150 pickup truck. Boise State also had a street team handing out prizes to fans for wearing masks.
As of 90 minutes before kickoff, about 40 fans had taken advantage of the opportunity to get a vaccination shot, the Idaho Press reported.
Miles Pereira, a student who attended Saturday’s game, was in favor of the policy. However, he felt that announcing it so quickly before the game left some students out.
“It was very quick, so I don’t think students had a lot of time to prepare for it,” Pereira told the Idaho Press. “Especially considering they wanted proof of a negative COVID tests and there’s only so many COVID they can produce for students. Especially if students already have the ticket, it’s sort of like a ‘hey, this is what you have to do, sorry if you don’t do it, you can’t come,’ I think it’s a little late notice. But I definitely do think it’s a step in the right direction.”