Covering BYU Football’s Win Against Navy Brought Normalcy Amidst COVID-19
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – The sights and sounds of covering a BYU football game amidst the COVID-19 pandemic was a unique experience.
KSL Sports was one of two media outlets that were on location to cover BYU’s 55-3 win over Navy. Being on-location even amidst a pandemic brought some normalcy to a world that has been anything but normal in 2020.
During the pre and post-game, the media were not allowed to walk the field at the empty Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. In-game, all of the assembled media which included around 30 individuals had the chance to witness BYU’s dismantling of a Navy team that was coming off an 11-2 season a year ago.
Here’s an on-the-ground recap from the first BYU football game during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Covering BYU during COVID-19 pandemic
Upon arriving at the stadium, a kind stadium staff employee checked my temperature to make sure it was under 100.4 degrees. If it was above that mark, you were turned away and not allowed to enter the venue.
After being cleared to enter the stadium, we received a “Medically Screened” wristband that made it clear we were allowed to be in the venue.
Took a ride up the elevator to the press box and the social-distancing measures were on full display.
Throughout Navy’s stadium, signage was present to make it clear that the pandemic was in the back of everyone’s mind.
Directional arrows were on the floor of the concourse to direct the walking traffic that was there to witness a historic game played without fans.
Sights in the Press Box
Once in the press box, the seating chart for the assembled media featured one empty seat in between each media member. Also, the pregame meal was available in individual packaging for each person in the booth.
Each team that had members of their coaching staff placed in the booth was given the space necessary to practice social distancing.
Members of the media that had a red press box credential were not allowed to step onto the field. But we were allowed to walk around the concourse. Navy’s stadium had a mezzanine that gave us the opportunity to walk around the entire venue without stepping down onto the field.
Pre-pandemic were usually able to go wherever we’d like except the locker rooms as members of the media. Including up close to the team when the players and coaches get off the bus. This time we couldn’t see it up close, but we were able to get an aerial shot on the south end of the venue when the teams rolled through.
Once kickoff happened, everything felt like a normal football game. No cheers or groans from a crowd were strange, but once the game began it felt like a typical college football game. When living amidst a pandemic anything that feels typical is a welcomed sight.
The postgame press conference is now virtual
After BYU’s 55-3 shellacking of Navy concluded, the media in attendance stayed in their seats in the booth and asked questions to coaches and players via Zoom. Not ideal, but also a far better option than having no football at all.
Who knows when a vaccine is coming, but on Labor Day night, a smidge of normalcy was felt in Annapolis and that is all we ask for as we try to navigate these unprecedented times.
For more on covering a BYU football game during COVID-19, go follow KSL Sports on Instagram and check out the highlighted stories.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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