Normally, the University of Evansville men's basketball team would already be a game or two into the non-conference portion of their season by this point in the year (last year's season tipped off on November 9th), but as we know all too painfully well, 2020 has been anything but normal. This year, there will be no non-conference schedule. Teams in the Missouri Valley Conference will only play each other, pushing the start of the team's season back to December 30th when they host Illinois State at the Ford Center. But will you, as a fan, be able to watch the games in person? That question was answered Monday morning by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and University representatives including President Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, Director of Athletics Mark Spencer, and men's head coach Coach Todd Lickliter during a press conference at the Ford Center.

The short answer is, no. Citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area, a maximum number of 500 attendees will be allowed inside the venue for all nine home game's on the team's 2020-21 schedule. A press release provided at the conclusion of the press conference by Associate Athletic Director, Bob Pristash states,

Ford Center attendees shall 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.

The statement goes on to say "no tickets will be available for sale at this time," and that position will be reevaluated in the event current circumstances change. What that means is that if COVID cases, positivity rates, and hospitalizations begin to trend down at some point during the season, the University will explore the possibility of increasing capacity.

The 500 number falls in accordance with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's state order regarding large gatherings in which written consent from local health officials is not required if the number of people scheduled to attended is at 500 or less.

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