SMITHVILLE, MO (KCTV) - Without a doubt, high school football won’t be the same in 2020. Home games at Kansas City Public Schools will have empty stands, while other schools across the Metro will have limited spectators.
Smithville High School is one of the schools that will have a game under the lights Friday night. The school is one of 27 schools in the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference, all of which have a two-ticket policy for this season.
Under the policy, each player, coach and cheerleader - pretty much any participant - will be given two tickets to the games to give to whomever they’d like.
Come game time, only those ticket holders will enter what the school is calling “the game day bubble,” and yes, masks and social distancing will be monitored.
People who have been to Smithville High School know there is no gate around the field. Spectators will typically pull their cars up in the lot that is elevated from the lower bowl where the field sits to tailgate and watch the game from afar.
Because of the pandemic, however, they’ve actually ran a rope around the field to create a boundary between that area and those allowed in.
There will be three total entrances for fans to walk in to give their tickets in an effort to spread people out as the arrive for the game.
Darren Schaffer with Smithville High Schools Athletics and Activities told KCTV5 News that because there is quite a bit of parking on the campus, people are able to park and watch the game from their cars outside of the bubble.
“If they want to come on campus and sit 40, 50 yards away in our parking lot and look down into our stadium, it’ll become first come first serve,” he explained.
A player testing positive for COVID-19 could potentially shut down games for a certain amount of time. The schools actually have a flow chart that has a process they’d go through that would involve athletic trainers, students’ doctors, contact tracing and more.
“That’s the fear with starting up here. It’s just one of those things that we think our kids deserve a chance,” Schaffer said. “And last spring for our athletes, it basically shut down. So we’re going to give this fall a try and hopefully everyone stays safe and healthy.”
School officials like Schaffer say this whole season will be a fluid situation, and adjustments may need to be made as they go. But they know many people are looking forward to being out for Friday night football and hope for the best this season.