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PSU wrestling: Letting some fans in BJC for Big Ten Championships the right call

Photo by Penn State Athletics

It couldn’t have been easy for Penn State’s only home dual meet to be held without fans. Senior night was held at Rec Hall in front of empty bleachers. That must have been an eerie feeling for the few people that were there to witness the ceremony.

It must have been a sigh of relief when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf revised some COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week. Included in those revisions were indoor events being allowed 15 percent capacity, while outdoor events will now be allowed 20 percent.

In response to the news earlier this week, Penn State released a statement on Tuesday giving information about this weekend’s Big Ten Championships. The university will be allowing guests for each school inside the Bryce Jordan Center, but tickets will not be sold for the event.

The statement said, ‘With new guidance released by the state, there will now be a limited number of player guests per institution allowed at the 2021 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, hosted by Penn State University. The two-day event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7, in the Bryce Jordan Center.

“Penn State and the Big Ten are excited to welcome a limited number of player guests to University Park and the BJC for this year’s championships. There will not be general public ticket sales for the event.”

Good for Penn State, and everybody that gets to attend such a special event in State College this weekend. We’ve heard how some is better than none so many times over these past few months that it was getting easy to wonder when we would be able to see fans attending live sports again.

RELATED: Lions’ lineup, pre-seeds revealed for Big Ten Championships

The Bryce Jordan Center has a capacity of 15,261, so a 15 percent capacity would be just over 2,000 fans. You would assume that those that will be in attendance in the BJC will be parents of the wrestlers for the 14 schools that are members of the Big Ten, and that would probably be about it.

Family should absolutely get the first dibs for the event. In many cases, families have likely been turned away for watching their children all season.

You could make the argument that Penn State wrestling season ticket holders should get a cut of that 15 percent, but the supply and demand for the event would be so high that it would be impossible to keep it under 15 percent. What would it be telling fans that some season ticket holders could attend the Big Ten Tournament, but others couldn’t? Penn State wants no part of that dilemma.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of these wrestlers this weekend. They will remember it very fondly when they look up in the stands and they see their family members cheering for them.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had their first event with fans since last March on Tuesday evening. The 2,800 fans they could host all looked thrilled to be in the arena. There should be a lot more of that this weekend.

Kudos to everyone involved — to Gov. Wolf, to Penn State, to the guests that get to be in the Bryce Jordan Center, and to the wrestlers. Hopefully they’re treated to a wonderful event over these two important days for the athletes.

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