Softball, baseball field seating faces capacity limits, excludes students despite fees

WKU’s Revenue and Expense Summary for 2020. The amount of money obtained from the student athletic fee.

Nick Kieser

WKU’s ballparks have some new protocols this season, one year after the COVID-19 pandemic halted all spring sport activity.

The spring seasons on the Hill have begun without students in attendance for the WKU baseball and softball programs.

According to Associate Athletic Director of Ticket Sales Matt Morrison, teams have been limited to a list of 10 people who are close friends or family members.

“We have a minimum number for baseball visiting teams, which is 10 tickets,” Morrison said.

Morrison said for the Hilltopper baseball team there would be 20-30 tickets available for those friends and family who wish to attend a home game. The minimum number would be 10 as well for Lady Topper softball.

The maximum capacity is set around 150-160 as of right now at Nick Denes Field.

“Every school is going to be different within our conference,” Morrison said. “That’s just what Conference USA has mandated as the rule as of now.”

Prior to baseball and softball season, WKU announced, due to limited capacity based on the state COVID-19 guidelines, there are no season tickets or walkup sales at games this season.

“I do hope the guidelines become more relaxed, because I do want to see a baseball game this season,” WKU senior Cole Carlson said. “I think around 20% capacity would be an amount to have which is about 300 fans.”

According to the undergraduate catalog on WKU’s website, students pay a $218 athletic fee per semester, ultimately equating to $436 spent per student over the course of one academic year.

WKU’s Revenue and Expense Summary for 2020 reveals $3.2 million came directly from the student athletic fee.

Carlson being in his final year at WKU did not know there was an athletic fee attached to his tuition rate.

The revenue and expense report also shows $2.4 million was generated from ticket sales to WKU home games.

“It does bother me a little bit that we are paying for that and don’t get to enjoy what we are partially paying for as a student body,” Carlson said. “But I also understand the precautions the university has to take.”

Morrison said at the end of the day it’s just the pass list right now until some of the capacity restrictions have been lifted.

Sean Meezy, a 1999 WKU graduate, said the athletic fee should be waived until students are allowed or have the option to attend baseball and softball at a bare minimum a pro rated fee.

Meezy said WKU students will learn, if they have not already, that life is not fair. He said not being able to attend games is for the greater good.

Although students cannot attend games, WKU Athletics stated on there would be a streaming schedule to be released. No such schedule has been released heading into the fourth week of the regular season.

When students are allowed back into Nick Denes Field and the WKU Softball Complex, masks must be worn at all times and students must be socially distanced.

Sports Editor Nick Kieser can be reached at [email protected] Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.