Basketball courts must be opened to vaccinated students

The administration’s rules for closing indoor courts do not protect students


Charlie Benedict, Business Manager

I was playing basketball with some friends at the courts by Palmer and Piccolo and all of the sudden it started to pour. The courts get dangerously slippery. It sucked, but we pack up and left.

If only, at this top-30 university on this amazing campus, we could play basketball somewhere with a roof. Maybe there would even be walls and a floor dedicated to basketball. Maybe they could have it climate-controlled so you could play when it’s 95 degrees or 25 degrees. Maybe they could also have water fountains and bathrooms in close proximity. Maybe they could even locate it right in the middle of campus and put cardio and weight machines near it. To cover these costs, maybe the school could charge every student, regardless of personal use — a flat fee for the semester. After paying this fee, each student could then have the right to use these facilities when desired.

Oh wait, we do have a facility that offers all of these amenities. It’s called Reynolds Gym and every full-time student pays $186 a semester to use it. Except for now, for the third consecutive semester, there is no rational reason as to why you can’t use it. Oh, my bad, I forgot about the massive amount of study spaces on the basketball courts. Those are always really, really, packed! What a great and rational use of space! Well done Campus Rec!

Yes, yes, I get that COVID-19 is the reason behind the closed courts, but we’ve all been vaccinated. Most people don’t have any sort of extenuating health circumstances. The basketball courts were never closed when the flu was running around. It makes absolutely no sense that I can’t play basketball (I’ll wear a mask, I guess) in a massive gym but I can eat maskless in the pit, jammed in like a sardine. Or can you not get COVID-19 in the cafeteria?

It’s an absolute joke at this point that we are still dealing with these absurd closures and restrictions. We are vaccinated, we are in a bubble, we wear masks indoors. If the gym won’t open now, will it ever open? COVID-19 cases might go down, but then what about the Iota strain? Not everybody has their second booster shot yet! Shut down everything!

We can still play outside, which I am grateful for and enjoy immensely. But the demand far outstrips the supply. There are frequently groups of 30+ people waiting to play in blistering 95-degree heat. How come we let potentially unvaccinated ‘townies’ come to the courts and play outdoors, but we won’t let fully vaccinated students play inside? I’m no scientist, but it seems that playing with a vaccinated person inside is less “dangerous” than playing with an unvaccinated person outside. Oh, and I’m sure the basketball teams are playing basketball inside without masks on. COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be an issue there, does it?

If you are really, really concerned about increased COVID-19 spread from the gym, then test students who go to the gym more frequently. But the school shouldn’t even be that concerned now that they’ve mandated the vaccine. Who cares if a vaccinated person somehow gets COVID-19 from another vaccinated person and neither of them has symptoms?

Closing the basketball courts isn’t a measure taken to protect people. It’s performative and it’s lazy. Open them up. To the people that run the gym, you aren’t saving the world by depriving students of a service they pay for. Administrators, you aren’t going to be awarded a Purple Heart for yelling at someone when their mask accidentally slips below their nose. By closing the gym, the university is just trying to save money under the guise of “public health.” Either issue a prorated refund or open the courts up.