With the decision to bring spring sports back into competition expected to be announced late October, Division II schools, including CPP, eye a possible return to sports competition without a physical audience in attendance.
Over the last few months, professional and NCAA Division I sport teams have competed without fans in attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The lack of a physical audience in attendance poses significant ramifications and considerations for CPP Athletics.
Senior pitcher Matthew Orozco acknowledged the probability that no fans will be in attendance during Bronco baseball games despite how important they are to him.
“As a pitcher, it’s going to be tough because pitchers rely on adrenaline, and I rely on adrenaline a lot when I get it from the fans,” said Orozco. “Normally, it is doable to manage adrenaline, but without the fans at the game, it’s going to be a different setting and it’s going to feel more like a practice game.”
Without fans in attendance, some believe CPP student-athletes will benefit from the minimal distraction of noise and, in turn, focus more on their performance.
Men’s baseball Head Coach Randy Betten believes players will have a spark in their game to take it to the next level without the presence of a physical audience.
“With fans at the games, it adds pressure and without the fans, I am seeing our players perform at levels that I have not seen before,” said Betten. “There is so much psychological pressure that comes from fans, but sometimes certain players need that pressure in order to perform at a higher level.”
Competitiveness without a crowd is a dynamic that professional leagues have fostered these past months. For instance, the NBA recently finished its season without any fans in attendance, but
the level of competition was as fierce as ever. Many attribute this to the lack of distractions from fans, which in turn allowed the teams to focus more and ultimately have more competitive games throughout their season.
Despite the lack of in-person games this fall semester, Bronco fans such as Joseph Trigo, a second-year business administration student, are finding different ways to keep in touch with CPP’s sport teams.
“Although I can’t go the games in person, I stay updated on all their social media accounts so I can never miss the highlights from the games,” said Trigo.
With no possible return date for fans to attend games, the Athletics Department plans to stream the games for students, parents and others on the CCAA Network. According to Intercollegiate Athletics Director Brian Swanson, CPP is the only campus in the CCAA to have three high definition cameras to broadcast their home games.
“We are the leading member of the CCAA to do this style of broadcasting. We have play-by-play announcers for each home game,” said Swanson. “We are able to constantly deliver high quality content if we are not able to have fans come to the games.”
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