BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Some Indiana University students are pushing to get fan attendance at the Little 500. There are more than 1,300 signatures and students want to make it clear they’re willing to compromise.
Students say they understand there need to be some rules in place. They’re asking for the university to allow a limited capacity and make fans provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or negative test. But the university isn’t budging.
The 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic. The university says between 12,000 and 16,000 people attend over the two days of races.
Coach Chris Anderson says as it stands now, no fans, not even parents of riders, will be allowed to attend. He says not only does this contradict the university allowing in-person commencement earlier this month, but it also prevents the IU Student Foundation from raising money to provide working students with scholarships.
Plus, Anderson says popular Bloomington bars and restaurants have reopened at full capacity.
“Attending the Little 500 is a life-changing experience for IU students that is so unique to any other university experience in the entire country,” Anderson said. “Half of our students at IU have not even been to a race. They are itching for this opportunity which is why there is so much ground being made with this petition.
The university sent a statement to WISH-TV saying, “Current COVID-19 restrictions remain in place in Monroe County, like physical distancing and masking. We are continuing with these for now as we plan for mostly normal operations when the fall semester begins in August.”
The university does not plan to make any changes ahead of the race.
Students say they have reached out to the university and President Michael McRobbie directly. But have not received a response.
The race is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26. The women’s race will begin at noon, followed by the men’s race at 4 p.m.