Syracuse basketball could have a small number of fans cheer on the Orange at the close of the 2020-21 regular season, but head coach Jim Boeheim thinks live attendance should have already occurred on the Hill in the current term.
Other teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference and in leagues around the country have welcomed fans inside their arenas and stadiums, at limited capacity, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
But Covid-19 protocols and decisions by government officials on in-person attendance vary from state to state, with New York officials having not yet allowed fans to watch from the Carrier Dome or other facilities in the Empire state.
As we reported in a column a few days ago, that may soon change. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that stadiums and arenas in the state with a capacity of at least 10,000 people, including the Dome, can re-open under certain conditions beginning on Feb. 23. Cuomo has set a 10-percent capacity limit for these venues, and he cited the “successful” pilot program of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills within his announcement.
Syracuse basketball boss Jim Boeheim has some pretty choice words about the lack of fans at Orange games.
After the ‘Cuse defeated fellow Atlantic Coast Conference foe Boston College, 75-67, on Saturday afternoon in Central New York, Boeheim discussed this issue during his Zoom call with media members.
In essence, Boeheim said that he doesn’t think there should have been a time this season when there weren’t a limited number of fans in attendance for Orange duels. “It makes absolutely no sense,” he said, noting that other college basketball teams have fans watching in-person.
Boeheim, who tested positive for Covid-19 right before the 2020-21 term began last November, said that the Dome is large, with a seating capacity of more than 30,000 for hoops action.
“You can space people out 10 feet” within the Dome, he said. “I don’t understand it. I’ve never understood it.”
A couple of thousand fans “is not going to make a difference,” Boeheim said, but it would prove “nice” for them to have the ability to see the ‘Cuse play in-person.
Syracuse basketball sophomore point guard Joe Girard III, in his own virtual call with reporters following the Boston College win, said it would be “a lot more normal” to have fans at the Dome. “We’re looking forward to them being back,” Girard said.