The Covid-19 pandemic has brought along a lot of new norms to everyday life. Nowadays, people have to remember to grab their masks like they remember to grab their wallets.
In line with the new normal, the FedexForum has taken a firm stance on what is needed to see both the Tigers and Grizzlies play. It was announced last week that the FedexForum will require fans to show their vaccine card or a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours in order to attend events at the arena, which include Memphis Tiger basketball games.
The arena will also require spectators to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. The ordinance will begin with the Memphis Grizzlies’ season opener on Oct. 20. The announcement was met with controversy as many fans have openly expressed their displeasure with the new directive, some even going as far as cancelling their season tickets. Many took to social media to denounce their attendance of games in an effort to show their displeasure.
The FedexForum was in a tough spot with many other NBA arenas starting new health directives revolving around the vaccine. The announcement came two weeks after Bridgestone Arena in Nashville came out with a similar mandate for its attendants. Bridgestone Arena will be the location for the third and final matchup between Memphis and Tennessee basketball Dec. 18. The Tigers are a tenant of FedexForum, meaning they must follow FedexForum directives. The students will be held to the same standards as other fans.
“I think it’s good for everyone to be safe and enjoy the event,” said student Rachel Anderson. “It also makes it fair for the kids 12 and under to feel safe since they are not eligible for the vaccine.”
The student body of the University of Memphis appears to be split on whether or not they are in favor of a mandate.
“It’s an inconvenience for me because I’m not getting that shot,” said student Matthew Holland. “I honestly might get tested for each game. Watching Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren would be worth it.”
The university is hopeful that the new protocol will not hinder the attendance of fans, as this year might be the best Tiger team Memphis has had in quite some time.
An athletics department official anonymously came out to The Commercial Appeal and said that they have received many calls from donors asking if anybody had dropped their tickets so they could scoop them up.
Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren do seem enticing enough for fans to at least get tested. The University of Memphis has had a longstanding policy prohibiting refunds for season tickets, but the athletic department said they are still evaluating the impact the new mandate will have on season ticket holders.