Saying a wrestling tournament violates the state’s COVID-19 rules for gatherings and has the potential to be a “super spreader” event, College Township in Centre County is trying to stop the tournament from happening this weekend.
Olympic Club Duals is holding the event in the C3 Sports Complex off the Benner Pike. The tournament was scheduled to start Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday.
The township said it could draw 1,100 or more people. The municipality said it doesn't have the power to shut down an event and has reached out to the state for help.
College Township Manager Adam Brumbaugh pointed to the size of the event and number of participants.
“The worry is that the rules exist for a reason — to cut down on potential transmission and in this particular size of an event, perhaps in excess of a thousand people in attendance, those chances obviously are obviously greatly increased," Brumbaugh said. "Added to that fact that you have participants arriving in town from around the country, just magnifies that concern.”
The club’s website says it’s expecting 60 teams from 10 to 12 states. The website also outlines precautions being taken: Two large doors will be open for ventilation. People’s temperatures will be taken as they go in. Fans and coaches have to wear facemasks. So do wrestlers in between matches. And people are supposed to stay six feet apart.
Brumbaugh noted the township does have restrictions on gathering size. He said citations will be given to the organizers and the event host. That likely will be three citations a day for each organizer at $300 a violation.
But the township can’t stop an event before it happens.
“What we do not have is we do not have standing to seek an injunction to have the event canceled or shut down,” Brumbaugh said.
To try to do that, they’ve contacted the state.
The township found out about the wrestling event Thursday after a concerned resident contacted State College police.