Some NC Senators Want To See More Fans At High School Sports Games During Pandemic

Feb 23, 2021

A football player with Kickapoo High School in Springfield, MO readies a throw.
Credit Riley McCullough / Unsplash Creative Commons

A group of Republican state senators want to increase limits on spectators at outdoor high school athletic events. Their proposal would allow high school stadiums to operate at 40% capacity. The current limit is 100 people.

At Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, student-athletes are allowed two tickets per game for their families. Athletic Director Royvell Godbolt says that limit has been hard on them.
"To be able to look up there and see your family yelling your name and cheering for you is — Oh, man — it's such an encouragement. And I just think that's important for these athletes because some of these athletes will not play college ball. This is it for them, especially my seniors," said Godbolt.

Terry Sanford's stadium holds about 3,500 people. Godbolt says he believes more spectators can watch safely with proper distancing and mask-wearing. He is looking forward to the day when students can once again watch together from the stands. 

“Our student section inside and outside was awesome. They would color-code. They would have themes and chants. The principal would do pushups for however many touchdowns we had. When I tell you the atmosphere was — like the kids say — lit, it was lit.”

While lawmakers are considering legislation that would increase capacity, Governor Roy Cooper has said he's considering easing some pandemic restrictions.