Inside look at Royal Brougham Pavilion

SPU athletic department adjustments for COVID-19 basketball season

Gabe Sta Maria

Everyone in attendance at Basketball games must wear a mask, fill out an attestation form and have their temperature checked upon arrival. (Marissa Lordahl)

With Seattle Pacific University’s men’s and women’s basketball currently playing their season, student-athletes must follow strict safety guidelines. Before game days the athletic department and coaches go through a process to make sure SPU and their opponents are able to play.

The players, coaches, athletic trainers, and staff must go through NCAA mandated COVID-19 testing regimens. The visiting teams must also follow that same process before they can compete. The mandated testing regimen by the NCAA requires teams to be tested at least once a week.

SPU athletic director Jackson Stava spoke on the cautious task of dealing with the logistics of gamedays for SPU men’s and women’s basketball prior to playing their opponents.

“The set up of the arena is quite a bit longer and is just different than what it used to be,” said Stava.

Prior to start of the Women’s game on Friday, chairs were spread out for when players are off the court. (Marissa Lordahl)

Prior to a game, the chairs on the bench have to be socially distanced and away from any game staff. The chairs on the bench have to be no closer than six feet apart and they are placed where the student section normally is at Royal Brougham Pavilion. Each player has an individual bin for their towels, water bottles, and hand sanitizer; they are also not to share any of these amenities with other players.

Along with the guidelines for athletes, there are less staff members at the games this year.

“Normally seven to nine people would be at the scorers table doing tasks such as operating the game, shot clock, scorebook, and carrying out PA announcements, said Stava. “This season, only a minimal game staff is present with only about four people in that area while being also socially distant”

Stava also explained the limited use of facilities at Royal Brougham.

“SPU basketball is also not permitted to use locker rooms during and after games, so they are instead using alternate team room sites at different parts of Royal Brougham Pavilion,” said Stava. “In these areas players can still be socially distant and are able to use sanitizing stations.”

Jackson Stava, Seattle Pacific’s Athletic Director, wipes down chairs after use during the Women’s game against College of Idaho on Friday. (Marissa Lordahl)

Right before a game takes place, every person that shows up at Royal Brougham must complete an attestation form, get a temperature check, and are required to be masked at all times.

Stava further explained the procedures that happen during and after the games.

“Once the game starts, every timeout, we disinfect the basketball, and there’s hand sanitizer for everyone who checks in and out of the game,” said Stava. “There’s no post game handshakes, there’s no pregame captain’s meetings just to try to keep as much separation as we can and hopefully the game goes smoothly which all of our games have to this point.”

Head coach for SPU men’s basketball, Grant Leep, has been adjusting with the student-athletes.

“It’s not right or wrong, it’s just different. It’s hard in the sense when you compare it to what we would normally do for games,” said Leep. “It’s just like in every aspect of the young men in our program, every aspect of the game is something we’re adjusting to, but we’re all going to do it because we all wanna play and I wanna coach and I want to help to become a part of this.

Leep also expressed how grateful he and the team are to be in a position to compete.

“Once that ball is up, and the game is going, things start to normalize a little bit and it’s probably one of the few times [the players] feel normal,” said Leep. “There’s a definite benefit for [the players] mental health.