USC closes indoor athletic home events to public until Jan. 14
Amid a tidal wave of COVID-19 cases that’s surging through campuses and upending college athletics, USC will close its indoor home athletic events to the general public through Jan. 14, leaving the Trojans to play, for a brief time, in front of near-empty arenas again.
As of now, only three indoor athletic events will be affected as USC briefly closes its doors to fans. USC men’s basketball, which just returned from a COVID-19 pause, will play Oregon State with no fans on Jan. 13, while the USC men’s volleyball team will play two games (Princeton and Erskine) closed to the public.
Family members and guests of team members will still be allowed to attend.
The decision comes as campus restrictions begin to tighten across the country. USC already announced last month in response to concerns about the highly contagious Omicron variant that the upcoming semester would begin remotely, with students expected to return to in-person classes on Jan. 18. All students, faculty and staff will also be required to receive COVID-19 booster shots, as well as wear surgical or N95 masks on campus, as opposed to cloth masks.
USC isn’t the only Pac-12 school to shut its doors to fans amid the current spike of coronavirus cases. Hours earlier, Stanford became the first Power Five school in the country to announce it was pausing fan attendance.
But while USC plans to close events for only the next 10 days, Stanford didn’t offer an end date to its new policy.
UCLA’s and USC’s Pac-12 games at Utah postponed because of COVID-19 issues within the Utes program. Both teams have had COVID-related breaks.
USC’s men’s basketball team is scheduled to play at Stanford on Saturday, assuming the Cardinal’s program can return from its current COVID-related pause in time.
After playing in an empty Maples Pavilion on Saturday, USC is slated to return home for what was supposed to be its first game in front of fans since Dec. 15. Now, the seventh-ranked Trojans will have to wait at least a few more days to see its fans again.
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