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Nick Carroll

Gov. Jim Justice was busy Tuesday afternoon pulling his best Bob Ross impression adding more colors to his cute little paintings of West Virginia counties. The newest color added to the palette was Gold as counties morphed from no play zones into; it’s safe to play, but only within other gold counties. 

Once again, the Governor is missing a huge point. It doesn’t matter if a county is green, gold or gray, it’s the size of the venue that matters. Not all things are created equal, especially football stadiums.

The current metric for fan attendance is based off 2 options. If Green/Yellow, then direct households and grandparents can attend, if Gold only parents are permitted.

Sound reasonable? It’s not.

Did you see the number of empty seats in Cardinal Stadium on Friday Night? 

Well, of course not, because you weren’t at the game.

Row after row of silver aluminum stretched from red zone to red zone completely bare. Berkeley County was in the Yellow zone on Friday night, and the Yellow zone at that time meant only parents were allowed to attend, so Cardinal Stadium sat desolate. What a shame. 

This behemoth of a venue had rows of opportunities for butts to stay separated by 6-feet, but a color-coded map with no concern for venue size determined otherwise.

Here’s what I don’t understand: considering the vast number of frivolous variables that determine the number of allowable fans, shouldn’t capacity of venue be right at the top as a determining factor?

Consider the football stadiums in Moorefield, Berkeley Springs and Petersburg. Those venues are miniscule in comparison to big boy stadiums like Keyser, Hampshire and Spring Mills.

If the Governor is going to formulate new colors like Gold so that schools within those counties can compete with other gold counties, then why has the conversation of venue size not been discussed?  

Every stadium has a maximum occupancy; therefore, a simple solution would be to allow fans into the game until 20-percent of capacity has been reached.

Let’s give priority seating towards parents/grandparents and direct household members, and then sell tickets for general admission to the rest of the fan base. 

Huge venues sitting nearly vacant are wasted opportunities for athletic departments to earn some revenue during these cash-starved times. 

Next week, when Gov. Justice tweaks the metric again, let’s hope he remembers that size matters, especially when it comes to stadium size. o

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