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MSU AD: No fans allowed at Bobcat games for now

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Posted at 1:58 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 15:58:41-05

BOZEMAN — Bobcat fans will have to wait to see their teams play in person.

According to a release from Leon Costello, MSU Athletic Director, no fans will be in the stands at the Brick at the start of basketball season, citing the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the community, state, and country.

Here's his entire release:

On this Veteran's Day, I would like to thank all those who have served or continue to serve in a branch of the United States military. They, and their families, have made the sacrifice to provide the freedoms we all enjoy today. In honor of their service, I hope we can all come together through our differences and continue to make this the best country in the world.

November means one thing to Bobcat fans; Bobcat athletic events are back!! After eight LONG months, we are excited to get our first Bobcat student-athletes and coaches back into competition. The cross-country teams have already competed in Idaho, and the men's and women's basketball programs are scheduled to tip at the end of the month. It has been a long road to get to this point, and I continue to be thankful for our entire athletic department, university, and partners that helped get us to this point. It was and will continue to be a TEAM effort, and I am proud of the effort shown by everyone.

One big question now is will we have fans in the stands? At this point, we plan on starting the basketball seasons with no fans in the Brick. I am as disappointed as anyone because Bobcat fans add so much excitement to our home game atmosphere and our teams feed off that energy. However, with the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases in our community, state and country, this precautionary step is necessary to allow our teams to compete safely. We continue to monitor this situation with MSU leadership, Bozeman Health and the Gallatin County Health Department and hope we will be able to welcome fans back to our events in the near future. In the meantime, please check msubobcats.com for how to watch or listen to each game.

As a reminder for when that day comes, we recently released information about our new mobile ticketing program to provide flexibility and efficiency once we can have fans at our home events. The new process is user-friendly; think of it like having your airline ticket on your phone. You can review this information here.

With that being said, I continue to encourage all Bobcat fans to continue to follow CDC and local guidelines as well as wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. These simple steps will help reduce the spread of the virus, allow you to cheer on the Bobcats in person faster, and keep our communities safe. As always, the latest MSU campus news and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

In September, Bobcat Athletics announced the #PlantTheFlag Campaign designed to raise much-needed funds for the support of Bobcat student-athletes during this unprecedented time. Last night we hosted the annual Blue and Gold Gala, with the funds supporting the campaign, specifically student-athlete scholarships. It was so great to 'see' so many of you last night! Until we can be together again in person, I'm grateful for technology and the ability to stay connected virtually. If you missed it, click here to rewatch the program on YouTube. I want to thank our Bobcat Club staff and volunteers for organizing the event and Montana PBS here on campus for making the virtual event special for us. I also need to thank those that donated money, auction items and those that purchased auction items. You made the event a resounding success again this year, even with our unique circumstances. If you could not join us for this special online event but want to support our student-athletes, you can still help by donating to the #PlantTheFlag Campaign here.

Last week, the Big Sky Conference announced the spring 2021 football schedule. We are excited to have that step completed and look forward to hosting home football games this spring. As I mentioned above, and when we're able to have fans, all ticketed Bobcat sports will move to 'mobile ticketing' from now on. I encourage you to review your account information so the transition will be easier for you.

While we may not be playing football this fall and celebrating the traditions that accompany our season, the 21st Annual Can the Griz Food Drive is underway and more important this year than ever. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank has remained open throughout the duration of this pandemic and is serving families in need all around our community. Please consider donating if you can—and any opportunity to beat the Griz right now is extra sweet!

We recently held the "Topping Out" ceremony for the Bobcat Athletic Complex where donors, student-athletes, and athletic department staff were able to sign the last steel beam being placed into position. Please enjoy the video of that celebration. We are excited about the construction progress and the live webcam can be viewed here. These are exciting times and we can't thank our donors enough for making this happen. You can also view our entire Athletic Masterplan for details on the project.

As we approach Thanksgiving, even in these unique and trying times, there is still so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family for giving me the foundation and faith to persevere through one of the most challenging times ever, both personally and professionally. I am thankful for our university leadership, directed by President Cruzado, to guide us through this very challenging semester at Montana State and provide stability and a pathway for our students to complete their semester on campus. I am thankful for my extended family, Bobcat Nation, Bobcat student-athletes, coaches and staff for providing the strength, resolve and determination to continue to provide the support and resources required for our student-athletes' development. Finally, on this Veteran's Day, I am truly thankful for those that have and continue to serve in our armed forces to provide the freedoms we enjoy today.

I hope each of you has an opportunity to spend time with family and friends this Thanksgiving. It truly is a time to be thankful and hopeful. Please continue to be safe and healthy and I look forward to seeing you soon at one of our events.

In Bobcat Spirit,
Leon Costello