CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mike Hill is like any number of business executives and managers these days. He spends a lot of his time on conference calls and participating in live-stream Zoom meetings, adapting to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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As the athletic director at UNC Charlotte, Hill knows his entire business — college sports — depends on what happens in the broader realm of higher education. Can students come back to campus for the fall semester? And if they do return, can they be kept safe enough to avoid another shutdown that would, in turn, put an end to whatever semblance of sports can be cobbled together in the meantime?
If he can answer those two questions, Hill and everyone else in college sports will then have to grapple with fan behavior questions.
When will people feel comfortable coming back to games? What will their expectations for social distancing and other public health safety measures? How much does capacity change? What do those guidelines mean for practical protocols such as how many people are allowed in restrooms or what’s served at concessions stands or how people enter and leave arenas and stadiums?
Hill and his team of administrators face the unappetizing task of juggling all of those questions and many more while mapping out scenarios and financial projections in hopes of bringing back school sports as soon as possible.
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