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Accessibility in Athletics at SJU

Last updated on April 8, 2020

by: Ryan Daly

College Athletics generally produce millions of dollars for their university. Whether it be big time football or big time basketball, alums and students will pack seats all over the country during the whole year. With these big events becomes large and very diverse crowd. In mostly every arena or stadium, there is special seating for those who are unable to sit in the normal seats that all the other fans ca. Usually, these areas are spacious and are perfectly suited for people who are in wheelchairs. Hagan Arena, which by no means is a large facility, is what I deem to be fairly accessible. There are numerous elevators when you enter Hagan Arena that allow people who cannot walk or maybe have a condition, such as arthritis, to get to their seats easier. Also, on the sidelines of Hagan, all the way at the top of the rows, there are a few tables on either sides with a lot of room and chairs for people who would struggle with the normal seating. One problem with Hagan Arena in my opinion is how closely together the seats are. It is extremely difficult for people who have some size and height to sit normally because of how close the seats are in front of them. For example, my dad is 6’6 and weighs a good amount. It is very hard for him to fit in the seats that Hgan has so he generally is able to move in to the top of the arena so he can sit more comfortably. One thing tha the people in Saint Joe’s Athletics are good at is helping out kids. I have played in numerous games where there is a special designated court-side seat for some children who are in wheel chairs and in two situations, amputees. This previous year, a basketball recruit was on campus and his father is in a motorized wheelchair. When I met the dad and toured the campus with him, it was apparent that there are some places on our campus that are not great for universal accessibility just seeing hi. However, the staff at SJU was able to make a virtual video and laid out that the family would have a designated parking spot extremely close and would make some extra seating accessible for the father. One suggestion I noted from Mr. Legget, the man I met in the wheelchair was that Hagan reserve a lower section in one corner for the people who need more room or specialized seating. He noted the hassle that it is after and during the game to operate up top when there are hundreds of fans walking by and then after the game waiting for everyone to leave instead of getting a head start by exiting on the first floor. I think Hagan is fairly accessible for people but they could definitely add to what they have now to make things easier for everyone.

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