photo courtesy of University of Dayton
By Nic Gelyon
DAYTON, OH — It’s been a long couple of weeks for Bona fans.
First, sadness. The Bonnies entered the Atlantic 10 tournament with heavy hearts, punctuated by the death of former St. Bonaventure University president Dr. Dennis DePerro.
But then, elation. Blowout wins against Duquesne and St. Louis put the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team in position to do something they’ve never done before—win the Atlantic 10 championship as the one-seed in the tournament.
Now the weekend of the A-10 championship game has finally arrived. Bona’s versus VCU.
It’s an atmosphere a true Bona fan wouldn’t want to miss. Good news for many, however, as fans will be in Dayton for Sunday’s game at UD Arena.
But, whether you leave Saturday or Sunday for the game depends on if you want to endure a three-day quarantine.
If you’re traveling for the game, know that the state of Ohio currently doesn’t have any COVID-19 protocols for people visiting from other states. In other words—take comfort in knowing you won’t have to quarantine upon arrival. You definitely won’t have to plan as far ahead.
Coming back to New York could spell a different story.
If you stay in Dayton, or anywhere in Ohio, for more than 24 hours, you may be subject to that pesky three-day quarantine upon returning home. Travelers are also advised by the state to fill out the New York state traveler health form, which can be found and filled out online at the New York State Department of Health website.
This is all part of the New York State COVID-19 travel advisory, still in effect for any state that doesn’t border New York.
The university also discouraged student travel to Dayton — but acknowledged it can’t prohibit it.
“For those who do go [to the game],” the university said in an email to students, “They need to be mindful that they will need to follow COVID-19 protocols.”
In other words—the university can’t prevent kids from going, so all they ask is that travelers stay safe.
And since the university won’t be providing transportation to the championship this year—also due to COVID-19 protocols—students must find their own way down to Dayton.
For many students, that will mean driving to the game. Gas seems to be expensive in Erie, the highest prices being around $2.97 in the Flagship City. But the deeper you get into Ohio, the gas prices seem to drop. For example—gas in Columbus is as low as $2.47 in some places, as of Friday.
You might be asking yourself—what will the experience be like when you get into UD Arena on Sunday? It’ll be an interesting experience, especially as Bonas fans haven’t been able to see a game in-person at the Reilly Center this season.
The first thing you should know: UD Arena will be at about ten-percent capacity for the game Sunday. That means upwards of 1,300 fans could be in the stands—a far cry from the 300 that could attend regular season Flyers games.
The executive director of UD Arena, Scott DeBolt, says, “There will be a lot of energy in the building.”
Some other things ticket holders should know — the experience will be completely cashless.
You won’t have to pay for parking, as the parking fee is included in your ticket price. And you won’t be able to pay cash at the concession stands, either. They only take cards.
Obviously, the usual COVID-19 protocols will be enforced at the game. You’ll only be allowed to remove your mask when you’re actively eating or drinking at your seat; at all other times, you must be masked.
“Wear your mask when you’re supposed to and don’t gather out in the concourse,” was the advice given by DeBolt. “Sit in your assigned seats… have a hot dog and a soda and enjoy the game.”
As for a couple students who are going:
Hannah Miller is a women’s basketball manager. She went to Richmond with the women’s basketball team, and so she got to experience their championship atmosphere. Still, she’s excited.
“I’m a senior, and this is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do,” Miller said.
And, of course, who could forget ‘Captain Beer’, Dom Grecco. And don’t forget his eight friends who are tagging along.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘we’re doing it’”, Grecco said. “We’re just going to build up all that energy we’ve missed all year and hope to put it into one game.”
Grecco is sticking four people in one car and five in another. His cohort in buying the tickets, Noah Minton, noticed the wildly fluctuating prices of the tickets.
“We thought about getting tickets, so I looked on Ticketmaster, Seat Geek, Vivid Seats; they were a couple dollars more on Ticketmaster, so I went back to Seat Geek,” Minton said. “But in that two minute span, I saw the prices go up another $12, and I said, ‘Dom, we got make a decision’”.
Miller noticed the same thing when buying her tickets. “The prices kept going up minute by minute,” she said. “But we got them cheaper than they are now.”