The University of Evansville (UE) held a press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 11:00 a.m. inside the main lobby of the Ford Center to discuss plans for the upcoming Purple Aces men's basketball season.
Present at the press conference was Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, who was joined by UE President Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, UE Director of Athletics Mark Spencer, Purple Aces Coach Todd Lickliter, and other local health officials.
Mayor Winnecke spoke first and announced that UE had decided it would start its home season with a maximum capacity inside the Ford Center of 500 fans, which is in compliance with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's current statewide order of limiting large gatherings to 500 attendees or less. The previously developed and approved “pod seating” social distancing plan shall be instituted to all attendees.
"I know that may be disappointing to some people," Mayor Winnecke said. "But while we all want to come out and cheer on the Aces and yell at the referees, our most important task right now is protecting public health."
Winnecke said the decision to limit the number of fans in attendance was made in collaboration between the University and local health officials, and that it would be re-evaluated on a regular basis based on the positivity rate in the community and hospital usage. The decision was made based on local COVID-19 data, including hospitalizations and positive cases.
Ford Center attendees will be comprised of a limited number of UE students, home and visiting team families, and guests as determined by the NCAA and the Missouri Valley Conference, designated game day personnel, current Aces Assist Members, and other contractually obligated partners, with no tickets will available for sale at this time.
UE Director of Athletics Mark Spencer also announced Tuesday that the team's traditional basketball season would be narrowed, with some of the games that would normally be played cut out of the schedule.
"We're gonna be cutting some of the games out," said Spencer. "Our expectation is, the NCA did already reduce the number of games this year but we'll be reducing that even further. It looks like we're probably gonna play about 24 games this year."
Season ticket holders should expect to receive mail in the near future with more information on what their options are going forward.
Anyone with questions can contact the UE ticket office at 812-488-2237.