Limited numbers of fans have returned to the stands leaving Cal State LA athletes with mixed reactions

Many restrictions still loom over Cal State LA athletes, including a total ban on cheerleaders at sporting events


Cornell Chuaseco

Some Cal State LA athletes and cheerleaders are concerned with the limited number of sports fans returning to the stands.

Anna Kuchison, Intern Reporter

Cal State LA student athletes love having an audience again. 

“It definitely brings some life back into the gym,” said fourth-year women’s basketball player Melena Bland. “I’m glad to have some fans back.”

Ever since the university announced last month that athletes would be allowed to invite four guests each to all of their games, there has been a change in energy.  

But, other athletes are still not too happy. 

“To me it doesn’t really make sense,” said third-year women’s basketball player Yesenia Smith. “We already had a hard time getting fans in before the outbreak because of normal COVID-19 regulations. Now, with just four people per player and coach, it’s even harder to satisfy people who actually feel comfortable coming to games now, but whatever it takes, we’ll follow the rules.”

While the spring 2022 season provides some sports organizations with the chance to have spectators, other student athletes are not as lucky. The Cal State LA cheer team is not recognized by the university as a sport. Since they are only recognized as a club, they do not have the same privileges as other Cal State LA sports teams. As of right now, the cheer team is still not allowed to cheer at sports games. 

“I understand the reasoning behind the Athletic Department’s decision,” said cheerleader Amberley Aceves. “It sucks to not be able to cheer, but COVID safety is far more important. However, since other sports teams are allowed to continue playing and invite a limited number of spectators, I don’t understand why they can’t let us cheer.”

“It makes no sense that they won’t let us cheer,” said second-year cheerleader Alejandra Arias. “I mean, it’s not like we come near the players or audience members. We sit in our own separate little section in the stand.” 

Being a college cheerleader at Cal State LA is not easy. Athletes participating in the team pay fees starting at $500 and spend many hours every week practicing to perform at sporting events.

“Cheer is a heavy commitment,” said Arias. “We all have classes and other obligations that require heavy time commitments, but we still make time for cheer. We should be allowed to play like all of the other athletes, but we are not.” 

While the current circumstances due to COVID-19 are not ideal, the Athletics Department is doing everything they can to make sure athletes have an enjoyable season while following safety protocols.

“A lot of our spectator policies are based on the university’s policies and the L.A. County guidelines,” said Deputy Athletic Director Dr. Demetrus L. Cadwell. “So when something happens, we have to take into consideration the university’s stance on it and the county guidelines. When there was an adaptation to our limited spectator policy, initially there were still no spectators for indoor activities. We had a conversation with the Office for Student Life, and they agreed to allow four family and friends for each student athlete for the home team and for the visiting team. So that is the reason why there was only a limited number of spectators for indoor activities.