Story of season: Restricting, not drawing, crowds

Athletics director ensures football games adhere to guidelines


Ethan Marasco

When the varsity football team played at Carmel earlier this season, more fans were allowed in the stands than is the case when the Irish play their home games at Arlington High School, due to different regulations that are in effect in different counties.

Jake Langdon, Reporter/Videographer

As the fall sports season continues, and the Irish keep on winning and everything seems almost normal again. That is until you take a look at the stands at a home football game.

Then the realization really sets in. As Covid-19 limits attendance at all sporting events, the athletics department has had to shift its focus from, as Athletics Director Mr. Rick Streiff put it, “dealing more with restricting crowds rather than drawing crowds.”

Streiff has had to adjust on the fly, as restrictions can change at any time. And fewer people in the stands means fewer dollars in ticket ales.

Regulations have limited fan attendance to 225 in the Welch Activity Center out of the 1,000-person capacity. No more than 600 fans can be admitted to Arlington High School for football games.

Streiff said, “With football, we have to follow (Indianapolis Public School) guidelines. And IPS set the guidelines to two fans per participant. So when I talked to their district AD, I said we have 158 in our program, so (we have) 300 tickets for home side. We give 200 tickets to our visitors. We should have in the ball park of 500 to 600 people at Arlington.”

Streiff mentioned that 6,000 fans attended the home football game against Bishop Chatard last year while only 10 percent of that number attended the St. Xavier game on Sept. 18.

The luxuries Irish sports teams had become accustomed to, such as utilizing athletics department money to buy new uniforms and equipment, have been put on hold. Streiff said, “We are not going to make as much money. The reality is that our goal is each game we play, we have enough money to pay the officials and workers If we can do that and break even, at this point that is about the best that we can do.”

Streiff shed some positivity on the situation, saying, “On the flip side, we are still playing sports. And in my mind each week that goes by that we can play and keep good things happening is a plus.” He said he hopes that as Covid-19 cases fall and the season continues, the school will be able to host more fans.

He said, “We are keeping our fingers crossed. We are really close to the positivity rates on Marion County to open things up a little bit more. (In Marion County) we are actually under the number statewide.”

Streiff urged students, alumni and parents to be understanding as fall athletes continue their seasons. The limited attendance is out of his control, as he said, “The restrictions that are put in place are not done by us, they are done by government officials. We would love to be in a situation where we could open it up, but unfortunately, that’s not where we are right now.”