MILWAUKEE — For the first time this season, Marquette men's basketball fans were allowed into Fiserv Forum on Saturday night to cheer on the Golden Eagles in the final home game of the season. Like many arenas and stadiums, fans hadn't been allowed in the stands due to COVID-19 precautions.
1,800 fans, which is 10% of Fiserv's capacity, were allowed for Saturday's game. Attendance rules at other Big East schools have varied this season, with most opting to let some fans attend later into the season. Four Big East schools ended the season with limited capacity, two only allowed the families of student-athletes to attend and four of the schools didn't have fans throughout the season.
Redshirt Freshman Dexter Akanno's family traveled from California to be at Saturday night's game. Akanno's mom, Mercy, spoke to TMJ4 News before the game about not being able to watch her son play in-person this year.
"Very, very difficult you know. But we thank God we are here," she said.
With this being the only game she was able to attend this year, she said she was expecting a big win from the Golden Eagles.
Students were also excited to be able to get to at least one game this season. Marquette Sophomore Ellen Cyganiak said being able to go to games is a big part of her college experience, and hopes next year she'll be back with her friends in the student section.
"Lat year, when we were able to, I went to probably every single game. I had the season tickets, so I was always here. So, it's definitely been different not being able to be at the Fiserv," Cyganiak said.
That sentiment is echoed by Marquette alum Sandy Maxx, who said not being able to attend in-person "definitely takes away from that communal, social aspect."
Maxx attended Saturday's game against Xavier with her friend, and fellow alum, Katie Newcomb. Both said they've been taking COVID-19 precautions very seriously, and attending the game was their first major outing since the pandemic began.
"I've heard all good things about how seriously Marquette is taking their protocols," Maxx said about why she felt comfortable coming to the game.
In addition to limiting capacity, fans were given specific times to enter the arena and were required to wear masks and social distance.