The return of Friday Night Lights is less than two weeks away and we continue to explore what high school football games will look like under coronavirus protocols.
One major questions – how fans will be able to enjoy the games.
Most of the state remains under Phase 4 of Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus safe start re-opening plan.
That means high school football stadiums will be pretty bare once games begin. Each participant is allowed to bring in two spectators inside the gates.
“Within the defined boundaries of the stadium is where those attendance limits will prevail,” said John Johnson, Director of Broadcast Properties at the MHSAA.
Johnson says there’s a limited number of people allowed inside the gates.
Outside stadium boundaries, there’s no rule on how many people can gather.
“Can’t do anything if the fence line would allow people to watch,” said Troy Schelke, Harbor Beach Head Couch and Athletic Director. “If you have a big hill and it’s unregulated, there’s nothing the school can do about it.”
Schelke said it will mean more people will be able to watch games up close, but the view outside their stadium isn’t the best.
“Our facility, there’s some houses on one side that are kind of far away and there’s some fencing on the other and I’m sure people will gather there,” said Schelke. “We just want those people to social distance and be as safe as possible too.”
Since many people won’t be able to physically be at games, Schelke says Harbor Beach is installing cameras inside the stadium so that games can be streamed live online and fans can watch at home.
“This is the next best thing, so we have a camera and we just have to make sure it’s set up right and measures up with field and we should be ready to go for the first week against Ubly,” said Schelke.
While Schelke tells me it won’t be at same without a loud and packed stadium, it definitely beats the alternative of not playing games at all.