Players, parents, coaches react to ban on fans for PIAA fall sports

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Fall high school sports will look different. There will be a lot of safety measures in place and no fans, not even parents who want to keep their kids safe, but still want to be in the stands cheering them on.

The PIAA says it’s not their decision, but the association is following sports guidance from the Wolf administration.

It’s especially disappointing for football players in their last high school season.

Harrisburg High School’s Nate Bruce is in his senior year as an offensive lineman.

He’s already committed to play at Penn State in the fall of 2021.

COVID-19 has made practicing and playing a little more difficult.

“We didn’t take it as ‘oh, big downfall.’ We took it as getting better, so just overcoming adversity,” Bruce said. “Things are going to come in our path. It’s all on us if we’re going to overcome it or not.”

He has a positive attitude, even knowing there won’t be fans to cheer them on.

“I love playing in the Harrisburg atmosphere. Fans make the atmosphere, so it’s going to be a lot different,” Bruce said. “It’s going to be like practice, for real, but we’re going to make the best out of it.”

His dad, Fred Bellamy is dissapointed and worried about players being motivated.

“It’s pretty upsetting because I won’t be able to attend the game and then there’s no way to really critique his play as I watch the game when we talk after the game ends,” Bellamy said.

A petition on has more than 37,000 people asking Gov. Tom Wolf to allow fans at games.

For Bishop McDevitt coach Chance Powell, he’ll be able to watch his son who’s the quarterback, but won’t be able to see his daughter play soccer.

“As a parent, from that perspective, it’s just devastating not to be there and watch the games and watch your own kids compete,” Powell said.

As a parent and a coach, Powell’s holding out hope things could change.

“Keep those masks up and do as we’re told and just be patient and I think good things will come,” Powell said.

Republican state Senator Mario Scavello plans to introduce legislation to allow two parent or guardian passes to be given to each athlete, as long as social distancing guidelines are still followed.

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