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Families Getting First Shot at Tickets for West Virginia Winter Sporting Events

W.Va. schools are taking precautions as restrictions begin to lift

File Photo John Marshall’s Catherine Hunnell, right, drives to the hoop during a game last season. John Marshall’s athletics director Roger Simmons said that when they have home games they will be giving each school 150 tickets, but only allowing parents, grandparents and household members. They will then see how it goes from there.

WHEELING — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice made the decision to relax some of the COVID-19 restrictions for high school sports and West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission executive director Bernie Dolan announced that attendance will not be limited to a percentage of the gymnasium’s capacity.

It is recommended that parents and other household members of athletes and coaches get first priority for tickets and all spectators still must wear masks and socially distance from each other but each school is now responsible for deciding the maximum number of fans allowed to attend athletic events.

However, schools are starting off slowly for the safety of the student athletes and the fans, while hoping to increase attendance as the season goes along.

“It’s a pretty challenging dynamic since we don’t have a large home or away side,” Wheeling Central athletics director Donnie Murray said. “So we’re allotting so many tickets per player on our team and so many on the visiting team.

“That should take us close to about 20 percent capacity so we can provide social distancing.

“We’ll run a couple of games and see how it looks. If families are able to sit in their pods and we can provide more space, then we will move forward with maybe allowing more tickets per player.

“I’ve always been taught in education to always start tough and then you can relax as you go, so that’s kind of our policy.”

The cheerleaders and their families will also be allowed to purchase tickets at Central games.

“We have a new dynamic we’re going to have in place,” Murray said. “Our cheerleaders and their families are going to be up on the balcony this year.

“So, we’ll see how the gym looks with the families of players and cheerleaders and if we’re able to still create more seating availability, while maintaining social distancing, then we’ll possibly expand on the tickets.”

John Marshall athletics director Roger Simmons agreed with Murray’s policy but with the Monarchs having more seating in their gym, there may be more spectators able to attend games at the start of the season.

“We will sell tickets online through hometown tickets for boys and girls basketball,” Simmons said. “We’ll be giving each school 150 tickets but only allowing parents, grandparents and household members and then we’ll see how it goes from there.

“We won’t be selling any tickets at the gate, everything will be online at either John Marshall’s website or hometown ticketing. Hopefully they lift more restrictions as the season goes along and anybody who buys a ticket can go in.”

There are still several schools working out details to provide the safest environment for the fans, athletes and coaches but the good news is — there will be winter sports.

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