The University of Cincinnati has left the door to Fifth Third Arena ajar after initial indications were that fans would be shut out to start the Bearcats' basketball season.
"If we can do it, we will," UC athletic director John Cunningham told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday in referencing his hopes that a "limited" number of fans could attend the earliest men's and women's games, even as schedules have yet to be finalized. The men's team is scheduled to play rival Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout on Dec. 6 at Fifth Third Arena.
This represents a shift from Cunningham's open letter to fans posted Monday in which he declared, "We will start the season without fans in Fifth Third Arena. "We will permit fans in the arena later in the season only if we determine it is safe and appropriate to do so. We are not holding to a timeframe on such a determination."
In the event fans are permitted to attend games, the athletic department will sell tickets on a single-game basis and tickets will be made available only to season-ticket holders, Cunningham said. Season ticket-holder status and ticket locations will automatically be rolled over to the 2021-22 season, for all season-ticket holders, Cunningham said.
"We will be following strict health and safety protocols for our student-athletes," he said. This will include enhanced testing, daily health and safety checks, and the creation and maintenance of a stringent game-day 'bubble.' "