Back in the game: Students allowed at UM sports

Canes football fans throw up the U and cheer during the University of Miami’s game versus the University of Virginia on October 11th, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL.
Canes football fans throw up the U and cheer during the University of Miami’s game versus the University of Virginia on October 11th, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

UM sports are back in action, and after an unprecedented year in which most sporting events weren’t open for students to attend, the 2021-2022 school year shows promise to restore some normalcy to the college sports world.

During the first full year of the pandemic, the University of Miami enacted a number of safety measures and protocols that were universally implemented throughout the campus community, from the classroom to the gridiron. Masks were enforced in all indoor and outdoor settings and daily symptom checkers were used to identify symptomatic individuals and slow the spread of the virus.

However, with the rollouts of numerous vaccines during the spring and summer, COVID-19 policies on campus have been significantly reduced in both number and intensity, if not entirely eliminated.

These easements have also extended to UM’s sports facilities and venues, where the Miami Hurricanes look to welcome fans in greater quantities throughout the next year, which has students buzzing with excitement.

“I’m way, way more excited than last year,” said Erik Lamm, a current sophomore who missed out on the traditional freshman sporting experience due to the pandemic, said. “Seeing sports happen but not being able to go to them was really frustrating.” He’s looking forward to getting a taste of that trademark UM atmosphere at the games, which are widely known for having an abundance of school spirit.

And at Hard Rock Stadium, home to both the Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins football teams, capacity is no longer limited. In 2020, fans were seated in socially-distanced pods or clusters, both of which are now a thing of the past. Fans will also be allowed to tailgate and enter the stadium once the gates open, as opposed to the staggered entry time system implemented last season.

However, Hard Rock Stadium remains adamant about following health and safety protocols from the CDC. All fans are still strongly encouraged to adhere to CDC guidelines with regards to mask-wearing in indoor settings and large gatherings.

To secure tickets to football games, students must open their Student Ticket Account through the Miami Hurricanes’ official website. Once at the login page, register your account with your account number, which is your C Number – found on Canelink – with the number nine in front of it.

After logging in, click on the Students tab and click on Football Tickets, which will show you a list of upcoming games. Similar to last year, tickets will be digital and touchless security scans will be present at all gates. Students must obtain student tickets the week of the game, but getting one does not guarantee admission. Located over a half hour away from campus in Miami Gardens, it’s best to allow plenty of time to get to the stadium prior to kickoff. Once there, students must show their ticket and CaneCard to enter the stadium from the Northwest Student Gate.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams play at the Watsco Center, a 200,000 square foot, 8,000-seat facility located on the western half of the Coral Gables campus. At the Watsco Center, the student section is situated right behind the Miami team basket and consists of sections 116 through 119.

Men’s basketball only has season tickets purchasable at the moment with no student discounts, but single-game tickets – when available – must be claimed the week of the game. Similar to football, a CaneCard and ticket are required to enter the student section, which consists of sections 116-119 and is accessed from the Northeast Student Gate.

For access to women’s games, however, only a CaneCard is needed. Their student section comprises sections 117 and 118, and fans must enter from the Watsco Center’s main entrance on its southern end.

‘Canes Baseball, which plays at Mark Light Field on the southwestern edge of the UM campus, does not have tickets available yet. When they’re accessible, student tickets will be ready to claim the Thursday before each game, where students can access up to two tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis.

On the student-ticketing website, football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball are the only sports listed for ticket purchases or claims. However, if fans are interested in attending Olympic sporting events, like track meets or volleyball, tennis or soccer matches, those can all be accessed with a CaneCard.

A return to normalcy has been a long time coming in the sports world, but with every passing day, glimpses of the past are slowly being restored. When Canes football begins their home schedule against Appalachian State on Sept. 11, the team and the fans will look to take a big step in that direction.