KNOXVILLE/BLOUNTY COUNTY (WATE) — A sense of normalcy will soon return to area basketball gyms across Tennessee.
In a video on Governor Bill Lee’s Facebook page late Thursday afternoon, he announced he would be rolling back restrictions at school sporting events across Tennessee for K-12 athletics.
RELATED STORY: Tenn. Gov Bill Lee announces ‘no further restrictions’ on K-12 sporting events starting Feb. 1
“I was surprised to say the least,” said Jody Wright, boys’ basketball coach and athletic director at Fulton High School. “I was kind of under the impress, and I think a lot of other administrators were too, that we would finish status quo throughout the basketball season. But again, I was happy to see that.”
Wright said he’s glad there will be an increase in attendance for the student athletes and coaches. And from an athletic director side of things, he added it will help with revenue at gates with more people being able to come in to watch games.
While general admission restrictions from Gov. Lee’s executive order will be gone on Feb. 1, the TSSAA is keeping protocols in place.
That includes wearing masks, social distancing, temperature checks and limiting attendance when possible.
RELATED STORY: Knox County Schools announces guidelines for attending basketball games
While school districts adjust their guidelines, one thing that will return is some school spirit thanks to cheerleaders.
Emma Webb is a senior at William Blount High School and said she only had a chance to cheer for three games before restrictions went into place.
She told WATE 6 On Your Side Friday night that she’s thrilled to have a chance to attend games with her team and cap off her season on a high note.
Emma’s mother, Lynette, is the assistant cheer coach at William Blount and said during the time off, it was all about keeping positivity with the team and coaches as they waited for a final ruling.
Lynette also credited the work put in by head coach Christi Prater during the break.