How WTAMU athletics are preparing to play

As a new fall semester begins at West Texas A&M University, several changes have been made to comply with COVID-19 safety measures to protect students, faculty and staff. 

The 2020 Buff Football season will start in September.

Along with a new semester comes another season of sports at WTAMU. Athletes and athletics as a whole has had to change and adapt over the past few months. At WTAMU, the athletic program is working to compete in a manner that is safe for both athletes and Buff athletics fans. 

“The impact right now is, you know, fewer opportunities to compete, and certainly a lot more protocols and things that we’re doing,” said Michael McBroom, director of athletics.

As the athletic season begins, students and fans will see a number of changes in the way they are normally able to attend and watch WTAMU sports. 

“All of our facilities will be limited at 50% capacity, but in doing that students will have priority on tickets,” McBroom said. 

WTAMU has made plans to play fall football, the first game set to take place on Sept. 19, 2020. Despite starting in the fall season, the Buff football game experience will look much different than it did in the past.  

“What you will see is not too many people on the field except for the football team and the officials. The band most likely will not march but they’ll play from the stands,” McBroom said. 

The fans and supporters won’t be the only ones seeing drastic changes. WTAMU athletes have also had to make several adjustments in much of what they do. 

“It’s all about space, limiting your contacts with people. Obviously we’re wearing masks during a workout. So, that is a challenge for our girls, but they know we have to do it,” said Kendra Potts, head volleyball coach. 

In order to follow protocols and secure the safety of the students, WTAMU athletes must go through symptom checks before they go to class and before they enter the gym. 

“We just make sure everybody’s staying as safe as possible. There’s a lot of coordination and there’s a lot of prep before we even enter a building, you know, but that’s okay. That’s what we got to do,” Potts said. 

Even with all of the changes that have taken place and protocols that must be followed, the athletes, coaches, and staff are enthusiastic about starting up another season of competition. 

“There’s been a lot of really hard work put in by a lot of people in the athletic department to get to this point in the fall of starting practices was a lot of work. For that first competition, it’s going to be kind of another like, I guess milestone and in this return from COVID,” said Sarah Ramey, associate athletic director for health performance and development and senior women’s administrator.

Games and sporting events won’t look the same as they have in the past and this season will have many adjustments. However, coaches and athletes are eager to compete again. 

“I think through all this what we’ve learned to do is be flexible, understand things can change, but also be grateful for things that we can do,” Potts said.