Priorities: University Held Basketball Games At 100% Capacity, Shut Down In-Person Learning

Priorities: University Held Basketball Games At 100% Capacity, Shut Down In-Person Learning

A prominent university has made it’s choice: Basketball is more important than learning.

Michigan State University allowed basketball games to continue — at 100% attendance capacity — even though the school had shut down in-person learning for students for almost all of January, according to a new report.

“Attendance at all of Michigan State University’s home basketball games in the month of January at the Breslin Center was at 100% capacity with 14,797 fans in attendance, according to ESPN,” Fox News reported. “However, in a Dec. 31 message to the campus community, Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley Jr. said that classes would begin remotely for the spring semester due to ‘the state of Michigan reaching an all-time high in cases per day.’”

“Given this intense surge in cases, we now feel the best decision for our campus is to start classes primarily remotely on Jan. 10 and for at least the first three weeks of the semester,” Stanley wrote in the announcement.

The university requires proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend basketball games, alongside an indoor mask mandate.

One student told Fox it is “wildly hypocritical” for the university to keep allowing thousands to jam its arena while barring students from attending classes (for the record, the school charges more than $50,000 per year for out-of-state students for tuition alongside room and board and more than $25,000 for in-state students).

“The fact that students can fill the [Breslin Center] packed shoulder to shoulder for hours before the game, for the entirety of the game and be together for, you know, probably three hours at night with no social distancing, not even including all the outsiders being brought in to campus for the game, it’s wildly hypocritical” Blake Maday said, adding the decision is “more of a revenue decision than a health and safety decision.”

Dan Olsen, deputy spokesman for the university, told Fox athletic events are optional for students, while classes are not.

“Athletics events are optional events that students or the pubic [sic] can attend, unlike classes which are required for our students to progress toward their degree and graduate. Our decision to start the first three weeks remotely was difficult and was influenced by two key factors. One factor was the uncertainty at the time of Omicron and having some time to understand it and its impact better,” Olsen said.

The spokesman also said fearing of forcing students to quarantine if classes were held in person was another factor.

“The other factor was recognizing we would have a significant increase in cases that would result in hundreds of students and employees needing to be out of the classroom quarantining or isolating, we wanted to ensure consistency in the first weeks of our spring semester so everyone had an equal opportunity to learn with as less of a disruption to their education as possible,” Olsen said.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected]

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