BOISE, Idaho — Boise State Athletics Director Jeramiah Dickey announced around 900 people will be able to attend the Boise State men's basketball games against Utah State at ExtraMile Arena on February 17 and 19. Two hundred of those tickets are reserved for students.
“I’ll tell you, it gets your heart pumping. It gets you excited,” Leon Rice, Boise State's head men's basketball coach said. "Eleven helped us last game so I am just excited for our guys because I think it will give them positive juice and we just want it to be closer to what college basketball has been.”
It comes at a crucial time in the Broncos season. Utah State is in first place in the Mountain West and the Broncos have a chance to claim that position with a series sweep.
“I told our guys it’s a privilege to be in this position and it’s a privilege because of what they have done by finding a way to win this last game is why we are in this position,” Rice said.
A news release says along with the decline of COVID-19 cases in the area, there is a multi-layered health and safety plan reviewed by Central District Health in place and people will be physically distanced.
"This is a decision that has been vetted by health experts, and one we are comfortable making," Dickey said. "As we have evaluated every possible opportunity, the health and safety of our student-athletes has been our top priority, and it always will be. Our health and wellness team has tackled the challenges of COVID phenomenally well over the course of this past year, and there isn't a plan we have worked on where the health and safety of all competitors wasn't at the forefront of our decision-making process."
Boise State officials will test staff and student-athletes ahead of the games, as they have been doing all season. Fans will have to clear a temperature and health screening before they are allowed to enter. Masks are required for everyone, and hand sanitization stands will be located at all entry points and throughout the arena. Concessions will not be sold at this time.
The release says seating will be pre-established and people are only allowed to sit in the seats that they are assigned to ensure social distancing. There will be no seating permitted on the arena's floor level, as Boise State follows guidelines from the Mountain West and NCAA.
Tickets for each game cost between $30 and $40 and will be sold to Bronco Athletic Association members and basketball season ticket holders before going on sale to the general public if any tickets remain.
The tickets will go on sale for both games on Tuesday. BAA members will get an email with instructions on how to buy tickets when it is their turn. Tickets will be limited to four per account, according to the release.
Boise State is evaluating attendance capacity for additional athletics events going forward.
On Wednesday, BSU athletic officials say the safety plan is only relevant to Wednesday and Friday’s night game. Tickets for both sold out.
The Bronco spirit was alive before the game started as BSU sports fan and students were excited to cheer the team on.
"Haven't been since last year so excited. I know the party that I'm with. We are going to carry the voice of 500," said Brad Dalton a BSU sports fan.
"Being a freshman, you don’t know really know what to expect but from what I hear it is really exciting to go to a basketball game, so I'm really excited to experience something different,” said BSU student Druw Lobis.