Athletics staff ‘entertain all the options’ for spring sports spectators

Sebastian Gagnon , Reporter

If sports come back in the spring at California Lutheran University, they may be fully accessible via live stream on the CLUSports website so spectators can watch the games from the safety of their homes.

In a Zoom interview, Matt Ward, vice president for Enrollment Management and Marketing at Cal Lutheran, said during this period of mostly virtual learning, the Athletics Department is prioritizing the opportunity to livestream.

President Lori Varlotta moved the department under Ward’s leadership earlier this semester.

Ward said men’s and women’s sports will need to be equally viewable via livestream.

“It is really important that parents of lacrosse players have the same opportunities to view their student athlete as parents of players who are on the basketball court or the football field,” Ward said.

Cal Lutheran, however, would only be able to stream home games. 

“If we travel to Redlands to play them in basketball or something like that, or any type of competition, they [the opposing school] would own the streaming rights,” Ward said.

Ward said there is also the possibility of fans watching the games in person if sports return in the spring.

“As long as we are creating a safe environment for fans, we will entertain all the options to give them the ability to view what’s happening on the field or on the courts or in the pool,” Ward said.

Ward said new information is becoming available almost every week and coaches are in the process of making their tentative mock schedules for next season.

“After the deadline, we will review the mock schedules and have a budget set up and determine what’s a go and what is not,” Ward said.

In an email interview, Dan Kuntz, director of Athletics at Cal Lutheran, said each university president in the conference must approve the competition schedule before it will be implemented. The schedule approval process could take up to a month to finalize due to uncertainty associated with COVID-19, Kuntz said.

Kuntz said the Athletics Department is in the process of developing competition venue plans to create a safe in-person viewing opportunity for fans.

“These COVID safety plans will include protocols for visitors and fans,” Kuntz said.

While there is uncertainty surrounding the possibility for in-person spectators, Kuntz said the department is very hopeful that live streams can make sports widely accessible. 

“We are working with other campus departments to see what might be feasible with the resources available,” Kuntz said.

Ward said the most important resource needed to live stream sports would be having people with the knowledge to set up the live streams.

“I think that streaming the competitions if and when they happen is going to be really valuable for the student experience and for the fan experience in general whether it be the community, alumni, or others who follow Cal Lutheran sports,” Ward said.