GREAT FALLS — Although fans won’t be allowed in the stands when the University of Providence Argos open the season in January, there will still be plenty of friendly faces in the McLaughlin Center on game day.
“Because of the safety protocols, we're going to pull out the bleachers as far as we can, but we have to space our student-athletes out,” said Providence assistant athletic director Jim Sargent. “So we thought, why not take advantage of the reserved seats? We’re going to get some cardboard cutouts and put them up there and then create a game-like atmosphere.”
For $100, the Argos will turn your photos into cardboard cutouts seated in the stands on game day. Of that total, $25 will go toward the cutout and the remaining $75 will go to the athletics department to fund things like travel, equipment and maintenance, which would normally come from ticket revenue.
“Every one of our home games are going to be streamed online on our University of Providence Argos YouTube page. And during breaks, we’re going to scan those crowds. And those people are going to recognize themselves,” Sargent said. "The parents hate that they can't be here, but the best we can do is put them in the stands and then they'll have a chance to watch our stream.”
The upcoming season is bound to be challenging and unique. And women’s basketball coach Bill Himmelberg is glad the Argos are doing everything they can to make game day as close to normal as possible.
“Our staff is going to pipe in some music and crowd noise, and we're excited about having the cutouts in the stands,” Himmelberg said. “At least our kids can look up at the stands and see pictures of their parents, pictures of their host families and their friends, and hopefully student-athletes from other sports up in the stands providing support. It’s the best we can do to make the best out of the situation.”
The Argos are looking to place 200 cutouts in the reserved section of the stands, and so far more than 50 spots have been claimed. If you’re interested in having a cardboard cutout at the McLaughlin Center, contact Jim Sargent at 406-791-5208 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.