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Boise State football: It’s 72 days away, we hope

Time is going to fly the next 2½ months. This is one case where we really don’t want it to.
Credit: Otto Kitsinger/AP Photo
Boise State mascot Buster Bronco celebrates a touchdown during an NCAA game against Marshall in Boise, Idaho, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Boise State won 14-7.

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

The near-certainty of reduced capacity at Albertsons Stadium this season became nearer to certainty when Ada County announced Monday it was having to revert to Stage 3 of coronavirus recovery. At the same time, Iowa put a pause on season ticket sales effective a week from today with the expectation that Kinnick Stadium will only allow a limited number of fans inside, if the Hawkeyes play at all. Only fans who have renewed their season ticket orders and paid per-seat contributions by June 30 will be included in any potential stadium seating plans, the university announced. With so many Idahoans not following COVID-19 guidelines—and positive tests ever on the rise—I think we can see where this is going in terms of fans in the stands at Boise State games.

I’m thinking, if we’re lucky, 25 percent of capacity will be allowed in Albertsons Stadium. If that means less than 9,000 fans, not even all season ticket holders will be admitted. The Broncos have to plan for everything right now—I wonder how this will be decided. As for logistics, it’s interesting to look at what the Miami Dolphins proposed at Hard Rock Stadium back in early May. 

RELATED: Boise State football: Albertsons Stadium 50th anniversary, Part XIII

Among the social-distancing plans: spreading fans the requisite six feet apart at stadium entrances, assigned times to enter to avoid security logjams, exiting the seats much like the end of a church service (row-by-row) “so people aren’t filing out all at the same time in a herd,” and giving fans the ability to order food and drinks from their seats. Oh, and masks required. All doable in blue turf land.

ANOTHER DELAY OF GAME

Boise State yesterday became the third athletic program nationally to nix voluntary workouts due to coronavirus concerns. The university is shutting down all campus-owned facilities today through Sunday after eight positive/presumed positive COVID-19 tests in 48 hours from individuals who have been on campus during the last week. That doesn’t mean they’re student-athletes, but there aren’t many others on campus right now. The university wouldn’t specify whether athletes were among the eight.

Consequently, though, the Broncos’ player-run practices have been halted temporarily. The school and/or Central District Health are notifying anyone who came in close contact with those who tested positive and instructing them to self-quarantine for 14 days. Did I mention there are 72 days left to figure this out?

UNLV SHARKS?

Nothing new on the UNLV Rebels mascot controversy front outside of a statement from the family of the late Jerry Tarkanian, the UNLV men’s basketball coach who led the Rebels to the 1990 national championship and was known as the “Shark.” If UNLV does change its nickname, the Tarkanians endorse the shark mascot. 

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Few people see a current tie between the Rebels mascot and the Confederacy, but the Las Vegas Sun notes that UNLV did sport Confederate flags on its helmets during its first season of intercollegiate football in 1968. The school ditched the Confederate logos in 1976 but retained the Rebels nickname. It was in 1983 that UNLV introduced the Hey Reb! Mascot, intended to be a “mountain man” with a rebellious spirit. The Hey Reb! Statue was removed from campus last week.

NCAA PROBATION IMPLICATIONS

Idaho’s two-year NCAA probation for men’s basketball rules violations sure doesn’t help the Vandals’ recruiting, especially after an 8-24 season. The transgressions primarily revolved around “impermissible coaching activities,” from non-coach support staff running practice drills and signaling plays during games to allowing a recruit to participate in a scrimmage (all under former coach Don Verlin). 

The bigger cloud hanging over recruiting, however—for all three of the state’s Division I universities—is probably the push for the NCAA to move championship events out of Idaho due to the new law banning transgender women from playing women’s sports. California announced a ban Monday on state-funded travel to Idaho over the law.

RELATED: California bans state-paid travel to Idaho over new transgender laws

KUNA’S CATALYST HEADED FOR BOZEMAN

When I moved to Idaho, Kuna was a little agricultural outpost on the edge of Ada County. Decades of growth have made it a force, especially in sports. Kuna High is coming off its first undefeated season and 4A state championship. And the Kavemen’s quarterback, Sean Austin, will be playing college football at Montana State, having committed to the Bobcats Monday. Austin, a 6-2, 175-pounder, finished his prep career last November by going 21-for-31 for 258 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-27 title game rout of Pocatello.

HOLLY’S STAR HASN’T DIMMED

It’s hard to believe it’s been this long, as he’s still a fixture at College of Idaho sporting events. But it was 20 years ago today that, after 19 seasons, 424 victories, and an NAIA Division II national championship, Marty Holly announced his retirement as men’s basketball coach at what was then Albertson College. Holly would remain as athletic director at the Caldwell school through 2016, with his most satisfying accomplishment the revival of the Coyotes football program, which had been dormant for 37 years before its 2014 return.

RELATED: Boise State football: College Football Hall of Fame nuggets

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…June 23, 2010, 10 years ago today:

The biggest goal in the history of United States soccer launches the Americans into the knockout round of the World Cup. Facing elimination, the U.S. game against Algeria went an excruciatingly long time as a scoreless tie. And a draw would have sent the Americans packing. But finally, in the 91st minute, Landon Donovan slammed a rebound into the net for the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory. For many in the United States, it was the first time they had ever celebrated a soccer victory. The euphoria would be short-lived, however, as the U.S. was ushered out in the Round of 16 three days later in a 2-1 loss to Ghana.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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