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Vanderbilt Thumbs Its Nose At Its Fans, Again

Being a Vanderbilt fan is exhausting.

Kentucky v Vanderbilt Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This is ridiculous.

After delaying the start of the spring semester for a couple of weeks and then requiring students to effectively lock down for five days upon arrival, all due to the new and improved Omicron variant of COVID-19, Vanderbilt announced on Thursday that the students would not be allowed to attend the next three home basketball games. Which, whatever. I can understand the rationale, even if I think it’s an overreaction to a variant that’s not really much of a threat to a population of vaccinated 18- to 22-year-olds. And at least for the first two of those games, students wouldn’t have been on campus anyway, so the student attendance would have been minimal.

What I can’t understand is why, if you’re barring students from attending out of an abundance of caution, you’re letting literally anyone else into the games. I mean, we realize that some people who are part of the campus residential community — namely, the players — will still be in Memorial Gym for those games, and they will then go back into the campus community after having been around the general public for a couple of hours, right? But I guess they have to make a buck, and no reason to piss off the season-ticket holders, some of whom are already mad about the vaccine mandate at Memorial Gym.

Anyway, Vanderbilt saw the bad P.R. that came from yesterday’s news, and then they doubled the fuck down because really, does the university even care what fans think?

In other words, Vanderbilt saw an opportunity: with a three-game stretch that the students wouldn’t be attending that includes the two schools whose fans regularly invade Memorial Gym, why the hell not evict the students from the gym and then turn around and sell those seats to Kentucky and Tennessee fans for $200 a pop?

Vanderbilt has seen its football stadium turn into a wasteland that opposing fans invade every Saturday in the fall, with home fans few and far between (and angry if you get onto them for making back their season ticket purchase price by selling them to Georgia fans), and the university has evidently decided to send the message that this is what it wants. Because when you have the chance to replace the students with Kentucky fans, you have to do it.