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Boise State athletic director on COVID protocols for football and basketball seasons, plus revenue expectations

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Boise State Athletics
Jeramiah Dickey is Athletic Director at Boise State University

COVID-19 safety protocols at Albertsons Stadium during football season has been a hot topic of conversation. But men’s and women’s basketball seasons will tip off in just a few short weeks, when thousands of fans are expected to pour into Extra Mile Arena.

“We very much lean on the health experts,” said Boise State Athletic Director Jeramiah Dickey. “In due time, we will make sure that we get that out to our fans.”

Dickey visited with Morning Edition host George Prentice to talk about those protocols, social media buzz swirling around Boise State’s conference futures, and much more.

“When you look at our attendance overall, I'm so grateful and proud of Bronco Nation, and they've heard the call to action, and they're showing up and they're supporting us.”
Jeramiah Dickey

Read the full transcript below:

GEORGE PRENTICE: It is Morning Edition on Boise State Public Radio News.  Good morning. I'm George Prentice.  Any morning we can spend with Jeramiah Dickey, Boise State Athletic Director, is time very well spent. So, let's do just that and say good morning,

JERAMIAH DICKEY: I appreciate you having us on and thank you. Thank you for your time.

PRENTICE: Up top, we have to talk about the revisions to safety protocols at Albertsons Stadium. On game day, is it your sense that Boise State is doing everything it can to mitigate the spread of COVID 19, or do you… well, figuratively hold your breath on game day?

DICKEY: Well, I believe we're doing everything we can. We're controlling what we can control, and I've said that from the very beginning and, united with campus, in regards to that, where we're trying to incentivize fans, we're very much asking fans to come along with us as we continue to do our best to protect those in attendance. And we continue to have game ambassadors walk the facility and hopefully promote the wearing of masks. And, you know, it's everything that we've said from the very beginning. We're going to continue to put our best foot forward and control what we can.

PRENTICE: Can I assume that you're still working on what safety protocols will be in place for basketball season… which is quickly approaching?

DICKEY: Absolutely. We're going to take it…It’s a little bit different situation, you know, being outside in football versus being in Extra Mile Arena. But we are working on Plan A, B and C. And that's how we approach every athletic event. And we will utilize… a lot of the things that we're doing are very different, and different from an industry standard because not everyone is navigating what we're navigating

PRENTICE: And we can look for that… when?  In the next two or three weeks?

DICKEY: For sure. Definitely prior to our first game. And that's something that, I hopefully bring… a sense of transparency to the position.  And we very much lean on the health experts and the people on campus…and those are plans that that we will run by the appropriate parties and in due time, we will make sure that we get that out to our fans.

PRENTICE: Well, you know better than anyone that Boise State lit up a lot of Twitter feeds across the country a couple of weeks ago, with rumors about a possible jump to the Big 12. Why might the Big 12 be a good fit for Boise State?

DICKEY: First thing's first.  We are extremely happy with our membership in the Mountain West. You know, my job is to put this institution and our athletic department in the best possible position now, as it pertains to what's next for us. We're going to continue to control what we can. And, you know, I've said it from the beginning: no matter what conference we're in, our mission hasn't changed. And we're going to continue to move forward with that. I said in my press conference, we're not going to rest on past successes. We're going to continue to push and have a sense of urgency as we all try to read the tea leaves of what's next in our industry and an ever-changing industry. But what I do know is expectations produce epic results, and that's a driver for us, as we look to the future of what's best for Boise State.

PRENTICE: I'm just going to nudge just a little bit more.  Knowing the folks at the Big 12 that you do, that would be a good fit, wouldn't it?

DICKEY: I think it would. I think our brand and our success, on and off the field speaks for itself. I think we would be a valuable member of any conference, and I'm very proud to be a Bronco and to represent us. You know, if and when those conversations take place… but we're happy where we're at. The Mountain West has been a great partner for us and we look forward to our future working together.

PRENTICE: Are you meeting your expectations? I know they're probably evolving on a daily basis, but are you meeting expectations as far as attendance and revenue.  Specifically, where are we, at this early stage in the football season?

DICKEY: Obviously, it’s my personality that there's always more we can do. You know, I'm so proud of our staff and so… are we meeting expectations? You know, I think there's more that we can do. And I think the staff that we're putting together and how we're pouring into our revenue generation and how specifically we serve our student athletes on the internal side of Bronco life, and health and wellness. There are things that we can still do, and we've barely scratched the surface on considering that we are still in this uncomfortable space as we navigate the ins and outs of COVID and whatnot. There are things that we pulled back on. There are things that that we wanted to do that due to some of the issues that our nation is having as it pertains to shipments being behind. And you know that that our timeline went from a couple of weeks to a couple of months…

PRENTICE: Can I pause you there? Can you give me an example of something that you've had to put on pause?

DICKEY: For sure. We very much looked at the patio space and utilizing every inch of our facility. And obviously alcohol sales was a big announcement for us and we just finalized our sponsorship agreement ,but still navigating what that looks like because there are shortages of aluminum, and where we're not where we need to be from a concession standpoint, and we're still navigating what our community is navigating, with staffing concerns and issues to fill game day staff. And so those are specific areas where I think you're going to see us elevate that, as we get into basketball and other spaces, and as we look towards the future.

PRENTICE: I've got just a couple of minutes left, but I have to tell you that,, having for the past couple of decades spending a lot of very late nights in the stadium due to some unique TV schedules…can I assume that fans, and especially families are really loving more of the earlier games on the schedule? I'm seeing a lot of families in the stands.

DICKEY: Absolutely. George, what's interesting is in the spring, I said, “Six games, six sellouts.“ And I think that still holds true. That's something that I'm going to hold us accountable to. And so I probably worry less about the game times, but I am very grateful for some of these earlier game times. Having three kids myself, I get it, how hard it is on mom and dad and to bring families to games. And when you look at our attendance overall, I'm so grateful and proud of Bronco Nation and they've heard the call to action, and they're showing up and they're supporting us. And that's what I've asked, and that's where you continue to build off of. And my expectation is that that domino’s into men's women's basketball and other sport programs that we offer.

PRENTICE: He is Jeramiah Dickey, athletic director for Boise State University. So, on my calendar, I've got November 6th for the first women's basketball game and men's basketball tips off November 9th,

DICKEY: And I can't believe basketball's here. You know, I'm supposed to go to practice this week with them starting and really looking forward to seeing how much progress they've made in the off season. They're really excited for the teams that they have back and the newcomers that they're bringing into the family. And I think our fans are going to enjoy watching both of those programs this year and fully expect them to show up to Extra Mile as these games get started.

PRENTICE: Great good luck with that. And as always, we're grateful for your time this morning.

DICKEY: Hey, thank you, George. I appreciate it. And go Broncos.

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren

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