By Danny C. Davis
Clinton High School’s Brian Fortenberry has been involved with Arrow sports for fifteen years, but things will be much different with procedures and policies involving all Clinton athletics this fall, due to COVID-19 precautions.
The first athletic home events will be matches for the CHS volleyball team, which will host games versus Warren Central on September 1. Junior varsity will play at 5:30 p.m., with the varsity game set for 6:30 p.m. The CHS football team travels to Brandon to play at 7 p.m. on September 4.
The changes to high school athletics will be major this year, as mandated by State government officials.
First of all, at press time, at the start of the fall season for both football and volleyball, only two spectators will be allowed per player, cheerleader and band member, a mandate from Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves. Fortenberry and others associated with athletics are hoping that will be changed to the current state college football mandate, which is twenty-five percent of the stadium capacity.
“We do not have a home football game until October; and we’re hoping that, by then, that we can have twenty-five percent of Arrow Field’s capacity,” said Fortenberry.
According to Fortenberry, the stadium holds between 6,000 and 6,500, so that would allow 1,500 to 1,600 fans to be at Arrow Field for the three home games this year.
Another big change is that no tickets will be allowed to be purchased by fans at the venue gates for the forseeable future. All tickets will be digital and must be purchased from the website gofan.co using a credit card or a debit card. This is being done as a safety measure, so as to not have lines going into the stadium or gym or any handling of cash. Pre-purchased tickets will only be available to participants in the sporting event and only can be purchased the week of the event, for right now.
All of this information and more can be found on the Arrow Athletics website at ArrowAthletics.org or via the Athletics Twitter account @GoARrows, according to Fortenberry.
Another major change this year is that the district plans for a wide variety of CPSD athletics home events to be streamed live by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Network.
According to Fortenberry, CPSD officials have been busy all summer installing cameras at Arrow Field for football, track and soccer events. Installation at CHS baseball and softball fields, as well as at the Sumner Hill Junior High School and Clinton Junior High School gyms, will allow for live streaming of Arrows baseball, softball, football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and track for junior high and high school, as well as track of meets and band contests.
There is a charge to view the live streams, said Fortenberry. Spectators can select a plan that is $10.99 per month, or they can subscribe for the entire year for $69.95. Subscriptions give viewers access to all of Clinton Arrows’ live streaming, as well as all of the livestreaming provided on the NFHS network.
In addition, a portion of the subscription fees go back to CHS Athletics – $1 per monthly subscription, and $20 per yearly subscription foes directly back to the high school. Plans are for other school events such as award days, maybe even pep rallies and graduation, to also be streamed. Special events of that nature would not require a subscription, said Fortenberry.
“This is going to be a great way for parents and fans to keep up with all Arrow athletic events,” said Fortenberry. “And this will include athletic events grades seven through twelve. We are working with our football opponents to see if they will tie in with NFHS, so our fans can access the road games this year. It would be best to wait to until the season starts, so the subscription will go for a full year.”
Also this season, all fans must wear masks for admission to any venue. Hand sanitation dispensers have been added at points in the stadium and the gyms. Fans will also notice increased security at Arrow Field and at the CHS gym. When fans enter, they must go directly to their seats, with no congregating in the common areas and social distancing practiced in the stadium and gyms. Concessions will also be handled differently. Once in the stadium or gym, fans must go directly to their seat and only leave to go to concessions or the restrooms, as well as leave immediately after the game..
All this information and more is available on the Clinton Public Schools’ website and also at Arrowathletics.org. and twitter @GoArrows.
“This year is going to be different for all of us, but we are looking for a good year for Arrow Athletics,” said Fortenberry. “All we are asking right now is patience from our parents and fans.”
“Things can change rapidly with the number of fans allowed and even the game dates. We will keep everybody informed as soon as we have the information. We appreciate all the support.”