With the state of COVID 19 and athletics worldwide, it was good news from the University of Montana that men's and women's basketball will begin their seasons, however, without fans in the Dahlberg Arena.

UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam spoke with KGVO on Friday and relayed the news from the Missoula City County Health Department.

"We're excited that we're going to get back to competing," said Haslam. "W e appreciate the hard work of our City County Health Department that we're going to be able to host games in Missoula. We're going to start with no fans, which will be difficult and a bit strange, but we're excited to get back to competing, something that we haven't done since March."

Haslam said there will be extensive testing of athletes and all who are part of the game operations.

"The NCAA has some pretty strict testing protocols that we will follow so our student athletes, trainers and coaches and those who are closest to the team are required to be tested three days a week on non-consecutive days," he said. "We know teams coming in here have also been tested, and we all have to follow the same protocols. We'll have distance between the scoreer's tables, and barriers between them and the players."

Haslam said at this time there will be no non-conference home games.

"Our men won't be home until January 2nd when they open against Northern Colorado," he said. "Our women will have the first home game on December 3rd when we host Southern Utah in the Big Sky Conference opener. Our women will have a couple of non-conference home games with North Dakota and Utah Valley State. The schedule is set, but certainly positive cases or quarantines among teams would mean the games would be cancelled."

Haslam said revenue for the Athletic Department will have to come from sources other than ticket sales, at least for now.

"Ticket revenue is certainly our biggest source of income, so we will miss that, no doubt about it, but we're hoping that we can eventually get to a spot where we're having at least limited crowds which will be a good start for us," he said. "We do have a plan in front of the City County Health Department that includes about a 10 percent capacity for Dahlberg Arena, but I think right now it's best that we just play with no fans."

Montana’s home games can be watched on Pluto TV, channel 1006. Lady Griz games, with Shawn Tiemann on the call, can be listened to on KMPT (99.7 FM, 930 AM). Griz games, with Riley Corcoran, can be heard on the Grizzly Sports Radio Network.


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